The government’s most senior veterinarian has been suspended from his duties for alleged abuse of power and illicit involvement in business activities, local media reported late last week.
Government-owned broadcaster TDM identified the suspect as Choi U Fai, chief of the Municipal Affairs Bureau’s (IAM) Veterinary Inspection and Control Division until his recent suspension in the wake of an investigation by the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC).
The CCAC probe was launched in August last year, based on a complaint by animal rights activist Zoe Tang Wing-yan, who worked for local animal protection group ANIMA at that time.
Tang’s complaint was about allegedly illegal activities by a veterinary clinic that had been contracted by the Municipal Affairs Bureau to neuter and provide other veterinary services for the about 500 greyhounds left behind at the Yat Yuen dog racetrack after its closure by the government in July last year.
According to the CCAC statement, the IACM division chief “secretly” owned a stake in the clinic that benefited from the contract granted by the Municipal Affairs Bureau – of which he was a senior official. The statement added that CCAC investigators also discovered that the division chief in July 2012 ordered his subordinates to include a trading company, of which he also secretly owned a stake, in the division’s list of suppliers of goods and services. According to the statement, the company won over 120 procurement contracts worth over 8 million patacas.
The statement said that the suspect allegedly colluded with an official from the Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau (SAFP) and a businessman in his illegal business activities.
According to the statement, abuse of power is punishable by a prison term of up to 3 years. Moreover, he and his two fellow suspects face up to five years behind bars for illicit involvement in business activities.(Macaunews)