The current chief of the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) Residency Application and Legal Affairs Division, Tyler Ian, now faces investigation by the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) after his testimony in court late last week.
The investigation relates to the corruption charges against some 26 defendants in the high-profile IPIM residency case.
The MP will investigate the current leader of the IPIM division, who handles the evaluation of the applications under the residency scheme, after statements made during his testimony as a witness.
The acknowledgement of the investigation into Ian came during the trial hearing when the prosecutor said he wanted to obtain an extract from the statements made by Ian in court so he could start an investigation into the official for the crime of secrecy violation.
This came after Ian admitted in court that he informed Glória Batalha Ung, one of the defendants, of the criteria and relevant weighting by which applications for residency were granted, which were then passed on by the former director to an applicant.
Ian noted he was aware that such information should not be disclosed, adding that passing the information to Batalha was not a “normal” procedure.
His explanation was that Batalha was his immediate superior in the hierarchy of IPIM and so he had no way to deny such a request.
Saying that he was not fully aware of the consequences to his disclosure of “confidential” information, Ian added that Batalha’s “tip-offs” to the applicant were decisive for the approval of her application that, otherwise, would have been rejected on the grounds of the “low relevance of the position as well as the salary.”
Proof of phone communications between Ian and Batalha were presented to the court in which the IPIM division chief states the intention of recommending to former IPIM president, Irene Lau, that an application be approved.
Ian’s testimony was suspended by the court on the grounds that it contained information that could be used as evidence against him in another case.
Pedro Leal, the defence lawyer of Batalha, opposed the interruption, claiming that Ian was at the court as a witness and not a defendant and that all of his statements were made out of his own free will. Leal further noted that the court should continue to hear Ian’s testimony or that it should be disregarded by the court as, in his opinion, it contained false statements that compromised the credibility of the witness.
Leal’s suggestion was disregarded by Judge Leong Fong Meng who hit back, stating that ascertaining the credibility of witnesses is the role of the court.
The court now believes there may by other incumbent staff members of IPIM involved in the alleged crimes now being presented in court. Due to this, the court will likely call additional IPIM staff to ensure that they were not involved in the unlawful scheme that allowed several people to illegally obtain Macao residency permits.
Workers say they knew nothing of colleagues used to file IPIM applications
Several of the witnesses heard on Monday in the ongoing corruption case involving the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) supported the prosecution’s claims that some of the applicants for Macao residency were people who had never worked for the companies listed on their applications.
The high-profile case involves some 26 defendants accused of corruption crimes, the forging documents and making false declarations on applications for residency.
In the Court of First Instance session on Monday, testimony was offered by people who used to work in several companies owned by defendant Ng Kuok Sao, who is accused of heading the unlawful scheme to unlawfully obtain residency permits.
Among the witnesses were several workers from different departments at the One Kin Construction Company, which is considered to be the headquarters from which the scheme operated. Others worked for smaller companies that were used to hire applicants attempting to obtain the Macao residency through qualified technical or higher management staff programs.
All testimonies offered to the court consistently noted that they did not know and had not met the applicants, nor had they heard of the job positions listed in the IPIM applications.
The highlight of the session was the testimony of a former staff member at the One Kin Company, Alin Cheang, who worked in the company for just over one year.
The name of this individual had been raised on several previous occasions. Documents and messages to Ng’s wife, Wu Sok Wah, as well as to another assistant, showed her involvement in processing the cases of at least three of the applicants.
In her testimony, Cheang first said that she had not handled any of the cases related to residency. However, she was stopped by Judge Leong Fong Meng who accused her of lying to the court.
Leong urged the witness to change her statement and tell the truth, otherwise, a criminal case would be filed against her for lying to the court.