Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On has initiated disciplinary procedures against the former director of the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG), Fong Soi Kun, and Florence Leong Ka Cheng, the bureau’s current vice-director, for their alleged failure to fulfil their duties properly over the hoisting of typhoon warning signals when deadly Super Typhoon Hato pummelled Macau in August, the Government Spokesperson’s Office (GPV) said in a statement on Tuesday.
Leong also was the observatory’s vice-director under Fong.
According to the statement, Chui made the decision after a special commission tasked with probing whether any government entities or officials were at fault in their response to Hato submitted its investigative report to Chui on November 9.
According to the Macau Post Daily, the investigation by the special commission determined that Fong and Leong’s controversial handling of the hoisting of Hato’s warning signals may constitute disciplinary violations, the statement said, adding that the commission, therefore, proposes that disciplinary procedures be launched against Fong and Leong.
Super Typhoon Hato hit Macau on August 23, causing massive flooding, killing 10, injuring 244 and resulting in damage officially estimated at over 11 billion patacas.
Chui announced in early September that he had ordered the setting-up of the special commission tasked with investigating whether the relevant government entities and officials fulfilled their duties in response to the Hato disaster and whether they carried out proper disaster relief measures.
He appointed Assistant Prosecutor-General Mai Man Ieng, University of Macau (UM) Professor Iu Vai Pan and auditor Louisa Ho Mei Va to the investigative commission. Iu, a former UM rector, is a civil engineering professor.
According to the statement, the investigation shows that there is no evidence that the other staff in the weather bureau or any other government officials failed to fulfil their duties properly in relation to disaster prevention and relief measures.
On October 23, Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosario decided to launch an investigation into the operation of the weather bureau as well as disciplinary procedures against Fong.
Rosario made the decision after studying a report released on October 19 by the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) on the findings of an investigation into the weather bureau over its widely criticised typhoon forecasting process and internal management.
The report released by the anti-graft body-cum-ombudsman shows that the weather bureau, when forecasting typhoons and hoisting typhoon warning signals, simply relied on the personal judgement and decisions of Fong – who resigned the day after Hato hit Macau.
The CCAC launched the investigation into the weather bureau in late August.