Two Macau Civil Engineering Laboratory (LECM) staff members are being investigated for allegedly fabricating 10 soil test reports, the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) said in a statement Tuesday.
The statement said that in May last year a gaming operator noticed that the surface of a road next to a casino and entertainment complex under construction had caved in just a few days after the road was opened to traffic. Through the contractor which had laid the road, the gaming operator asked the subcontractor to repair the road and submit soil test reports to the contractor.
The CCAC statement did not reveal the identity of the gaming operator, nor did it reveal the location of the road concerned.
Since the road would have to be closed so that soil could be excavated to be tested, something the subcontractor did not do when they laid the road, an external engineering consultant, surnamed Tai, working for the subcontractor allegedly bribed the two LECM staff to provide bogus soil test reports so that they did not have go through the hassle of having to close and dig up the road again.
The statement said that Tai bribed a LECM engineer and a laboratory technician with a total of 40,000 patacas.
The CCAC statement in English and Portuguese said the lab technician’s surname was Tam, but identified the LECM engineer merely with the letter S. However, the Chinese-language statement identified the engineer as Si (the Chinese character of the suspect’s surname).
With the help of a senior employee of the subcontractor, surnamed Mak, the duo allegedly fabricated 10 soil test reports without taking any samples and then Mak submitted them to the contractor.
The statement also said cracks appeared in the road less than six months after it was filled in and reopened to traffic. The CCAC notified the relevant government bureaus concerned to take remedial action.
The statement said that the case had meanwhile been referred to the Public Prosecution Office (MP). Unlike the MP, the CCAC does not have the power to charge
The statement failed to mention when the investigation was launched and whether the two LECM employees have been suspended from duty pending the investigation’s outcome.
The statement said that the suspects are alleged to have committed the crimes of bribe-taking, document forgery by a public servant and bribery, facing up to three, five eight years behind bars respectively.
The statement said that “some” of those involved in the case had confessed to having accepted bribes from the subcontractor’s representatives and having written the fake test reports without actually conducting any tests.
The laboratory was set up in 1988 as a non-profit public institution.
According to its website, it has 155 employees. (macaunews/macaupost)