As the corruption case against the former Prosecutor-general Ho Chio Meng continued yesterday at the Court of Final Appeal, one of the 12 witnesses being heard told the judges he had previously assumed Wong Kuok Wai, a defendant in the case, was a “representative” of the Prosecutor’s Office (MP).
Sam Tak Chun, owner of a company providing customised furniture and refurbishment projects via subcontracts to the Office, said he had visited Mr. Wong on the 16th floor of the Hotline Building twice and thought he was a staff member of MP.
During yesterday’s hearing, prosecutors presented a memorandum from Mr. Sam’s company that was found in Wong’s residence. The memorandum reveals the expenses of the projects undertaken by Sam’s company for MP, which include those to Wong as consultation fees, accounting for some 18 per cent of the total.
Asked by the prosecutors why he needed to pay Wong, the witness explained that was per Mr. Wong’s request, adding he thought that that part of the expenses was reasonable, as some MP projects such as a lawyer’s room might need professional input.
The prosecutor presented a MOP16 million cheque paid by Mr. Wong to the witness regarding a refurbishment project for the residence of Ho Chio Meng, on which a handwritten note reads that a children’s swimming pool amounted to some MOP13 million in the project cost.
While the witness confirmed the cost of the swimming pool, prosecutors presented another cost quotation for the same project by a shell company involved in the case, which reads that wall works could cost in the region of MOP17 million.
Prosecutors thus accused Ho of concealing the expenses of the swimming pool works by enlarging that of the wall works.
The court also heard a staff member of the Bank of China (BOC) named Vong Kit Ling yesterday.
The former top official was a customer of Ms. Vong.
Prosecutors said Ho had periodically deposited into his personal account since 2004, adding the deposits were later done by his three drivers after he assumed the post of Prosecutor-general.
The amount of Ho’s deposits ranged from MOP10,000 to MOP30,000 each time, Vong said, adding that the former official had explained that the money was travel subsidies from years before.
Meanwhile, the defence lawyer stated that the income of Ho and his wife from interest and insurance investment earnings since 1998 had reached over MOP10 million.
However, prosecutors were suspicious about the little amount taken out from the account.
The former top official reiterated at the end of the hearing that he had been responsible for taking care of his father while his siblings used to give him money for their father, too.
He added that his limited amount of daily expenses was because he did not need to pay for miscellaneous bills as he stayed in a residence provided by the government.