Former chief prosecutor Ho Chio Meng will be sentenced on Friday afternoon, the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) announced on Tuesday.
According to the announcement, the sentencing will start at 3 p.m.
The sentencing comes two months after the final hearing of Ho’s five-month trial for alleged fraud, abuse of power, money laundering, false statements and a host of other alleged crimes. Ho stood accused of 1,536 crimes, the highest number of crimes a local defendant has ever been accused of in a single trial, according to sources in Macau’s legal fraternity.
Ho, who headed the Public Prosecution Office (MP) between 1999 and 2014, was remanded in custody in February 2016.
The case involved nearly 2,000 projects that, according to the charge sheet, were illegally awarded by the Public Prosecution Office between 2004 and 2014. According to the charges, a criminal organisation headed by Ho benefitted from the illegally awarded contracts worth 167 million patacas. Ho and his alleged accomplices, among them his wife, allegedly benefitted to the tune of 44 million patacas from the scheme.
Ho’s alleged accomplices are being tried separately by the Court of First Instance (TJB).
According to the Macau Post Daily, Ho was tried by the city’s top court because of his former position as a principal official of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR).
Since his trial was conducted by the Court of Final Appeal, Ho does not have the right to appeal, a fact that some members of the Macau Lawyers Association (AAM) have described as a violation of Article 40 of the Macau Basic Law which states that the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “shall remain in force and shall be implemented through the laws of the MSAR.”
Article 14 (5) of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “everyone convicted of a crime shall have the right to his [or her] conviction and sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal according to law”.
Local broadcaster TDM also adds that among the nine defendants is Ho’s wife Chao Siu Fu, who stands accused of falsely declaring their joint assets.
The prosecution says Chao had the duty to double-check what they had to declare as a married couple.
With most of the undeclared assets under Chao’s name, prosecutors claim she deliberately intended to hide over 10 million patacas.
Money allegedly coming from a criminal ring which profited from Public Prosecution service contracts.
The prosecution says all suspects, including Ho’s nephew, were dishonest and deserve heavy punishment for intentionally committing crimes under a wide-ranging scheme.
It also said the case affected the reputation of the government and the Prosecutions Office.
Although prosecutors say such a blow deserves financial compensation, judges stressed that could only be decided in an independent case.