The Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) said in a report Thursday that the city’s three bus operators are operating “illegally,” based on a service provider system set up by the government in 2011 that, according to the report, amounted to a “serious violation” of the public interest.
The graft-buster urged the government to void the city’s three public bus service contracts to ensure that thepublic interest is protected, according to a hard-hitting statement that described the situation as a “the most serious violation of the law and damage to the public interest” that the CCAC had so far come across in its supervisory role.
The CCAC said in the statement that it completed an investigation after receiving complaints from residents in May, claiming that there existed many irregularities in the city’s public bus services including the existence of so-called “ghost buses”.
The complainants also claimed that the Transport Bureau (DSAT) failed to properly supervise the three bus companies and that the bureau was not working for the public interest.
The city’s three bus companies are TCM, Transmac and Reolian. Reolian is undergoing bankruptcy procedures and is now run by the government.
The CCAC said in the report cited by The Macau Post Daily the investigation showed that the Transport Bureau “was found to be obviously violating the law”.
The graft-buster said that according to current laws the city’s public bus service is only allowed to be operated by private entities under a “concession contract.” However, the report pointed out, the bureauarranged the three companies to run their services under a “service provider contract”.
The report said that according to current regulations public services such as public transport and water and electricity supplies involve the whole of city so that they have to be operated under a “concession” granted by the government.
The report also said that the bureau overrode the authority of the Finance Services Bureau (DSF) by exempting the three bus companies from vehicle tax.
“Obviously ……what the Transport Bureau has done [regarding the public bus service] is messy and seriously damages the public interest… The new bus service model has seriously damaged the public interest and resulted in public money being used inefficiently.
“The ‘new [public bus service] model’ is the most serious violation of the law, resulting in serious damage to the public interest, that the CCAC has ever seen,” the report said, urging the government to cancel the three bus service provider contracts or change the current service provider contracts back to “concession contracts”.
“As there is a lawsuit between the bus company [Reolian] and the government I will not comment, Chui Sai On said.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said he had asked Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si Io to look into the CCAC report.(macaunews)