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University of Macau failed to better manage public money

The University of Macau (UM) failed to better manage public resources when granting housing units to staff who already owned a home, according to a report released Monday by the Commission of Audit (CA). “UM’s actions are a clear breaching of the government’s social housing policy principle, while going against the principle of good management […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:51 am

The University of Macau (UM) failed to better manage public resources when granting housing units to staff who already owned a home, according to a report released Monday by the Commission of Audit (CA).

“UM’s actions are a clear breaching of the government’s social housing policy principle, while going against the principle of good management of public resources,” it reads.

Through the report, the commission raised criticism over how UM has handled public funds, particularly when it has come to managing its staff housing system, as well as when it created a research institute in Zhuhai, and in regards to the University of Macau Development Foundation.

The commission found irregularities in UM’s staff housing scheme, which allows a group of professionals, who work under specific duties, to be granted a housing unit without the need to pay rent. Data collected by CA shows that until May 2014, 217 UM employees holding Macau IDs were granted housing units, although 32 of them already owned a home in the city. Five of them actually owned two houses, the report stressed.

The CA report also questions the university’s actions in establishing the UMacau Research Institute Zhuhai, which was registered as a “private, non-business entity.” According to the report, the legal framework used to create the institute ended up preventing it from applying for supporting funds by not meeting certain requirements.

The report also criticized the legal framework behind the establishment of the University of Macau Development Foundation (UMDF), which was created in 2009 as a legal person (under private law). Therefore, UM itself is not part of this foundation, and does not have capacity to intervene or to supervise the foundation, the CA report stressed.

In addition, the report shows that donations to the university can be given through the foundation, but that the entities do not have any legal relation.

Speaking to the Macau television (TDM) the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam, said Monday that he would be requesting that UM clarify the all  the issues mentioned in the report. He recalled that as the university is a public entity, it needs to abide by the law and regulations, and therefore cannot waste public money. (macaunews/macaudailytimes)

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:51 am

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