Graft buster’s power extension plan wins legislature’s support

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Issue 784, Page 3
Word count: 440
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Corruption activities occur in all local private entities will be subject to the graft buster’s investigation starting March 1, 2010.

The bill to prevent and combat bribery inside private companies passed unanimously within five minutes in the final reading yesterday.

No lawmaker posed questions to the three representatives of the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC), including Deputy Commissioner Tou Wai Fong, at the Legislative Assembly.

In contrast, Leonel Alves and Chan Chak Mo said before voting that they saw great improvement in the final draft of the bill with more “precise definition” of crime, when compared to the initial version presented by the anti-corruption agency in March.

It took the lawmakers two days, March 24 and April 2, before they felt comfortable to vote whether or not the power extension power deserved further discussion at the standing committee level.

The debate was mainly triggered by lawmakers’ concern that no watchdog would be in place to prevent CCAC abuse of power.

Eventually only 15 of the 27 lawmakers cast a favourable vote, representing that the passage was just beyond the 50 percent margin necessary in the first reading.

After several meetings and a formal visit to CCAC office during the past four months, changes were made in the provisions that were both agreed by the standing committee and the graft buster.

Hence, the bill was fully supported by all the 25 lawmakers present in the plenary meeting yesterday.

President of the Legislative Assembly, Susana Chou, said after the bill’s final passage that it was her first time to see such “intensive levels of cooperation and communications” between the legislature and CCAC, so that both sides could see a “happy ending” at last.

Ms Chou also praised CCAC Deputy Commissioner Tou Wai Fong’s efforts during the negotiation process.

CCAC said in a statement yesterday that they welcomed the passage of the bill, which marked Macau’s integrity construction has entered “a new course of development”.

The commission also said that in order to better execute the competency given by the law next year, it will implement preparation work shortly such as personnel training, increasing resources and launching brand new legal publicity campaigns within different local communities.

According to the provisions, people found guilty of bribe taking could be sentenced for one to three years in jail, or be fined an equivalent amount.

In addition, criminals of offering bribes could face between six months and two years in jail, or receive an equivalent fine.

The bill also states that if a suspect could assist in collecting “key evidence” leading to the arrest of other people involved, his or her penalty will be reduced or waived.

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