Legislators consider that the government does not follow recommendations by oversight departments to reform public apartments and prevent infractions, and has failed to dissuade any future infractions.
The statements were made yesterday at a Legislative Assembly (AL) plenary session, where four interpellations were presented by legislators Ng Kuok Cheng, Ella lei Cheng I, Si Ka Lon and Mak Soi Kun asking the government what practical changes had been implemented after the recent Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) and Commission of Audit (CA) reports slamming several public departments.
The legislators’ primary criticism was levelled at personnel hiring infractions by the Cultural Bureau, the alleged waste of public funds for the installation of the public network WiFi Go by the Macao Post and Telecommunications Bureau, and the Iec Long Firecracker Factory land swap.
Responding for the government, Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan said the suggestions had been received and applied, with the involved public department asked to apply these measures, while ensuring that the responsibility for such infractions was assessed.
“The Cultural Bureau created an internal audit to revise its hiring practices and it also presented the government with a proposal to change its current system,” the Secretary told legislators.
For legislator Ng Kuok Cheng the system for evaluating the performance of department heads has failed to hold accountable the leader of departments where infractions were found.
“After the cases are found the government says it will reinforce oversight but what has it really done?” he asked.
Black sheep, and hunting rats
Several legislators enquired about the consequences of the CCAC investigation last year that revealed that a 1,655 square metre plot of private land in the Iec Long Firecracker Factory was able to be exchanged for 152,073 square metres of land in Baía da Nossa Senhora da Esperança via a series of transactions and land swaps through various companies.
“I hope more information of this case can be given on how many employees are under investigation and what actions were taken to avoid future cases. The CCAC made several recommendations but residents feel like the government doesn’t follow them,” legislator Ella Lei Cheng I said.
According to Legislator Au Kam San, the reason behind the land swap infractions – if it was corruption or it involved superior orders – was not found with the government not making efforts to dissuade any future infractions.
“Hunting rats is important but cleaning the environment is more important. We need an environment where nobody feels its safe to make corrupt acts. The government can’t act only after the deed is done,” he added
For Secretary Chan the government has already made efforts to increase judicial formation initiatives to educate public employees and directors in order to prevent infractions caused by an incorrect interpretation of the law.
However, she highlighted that should investigations reveal intentional criminal action all legal consequences would be enforced.
“We have all the confidence we can achieve an uncorrupted system. Some department directors might have conducted crimes that led to consequences but these black sheep are in a minority and we won’t ignore the crimes,” she pledged.