The Court of Final Appeal (TUI) has rejected Moon Ocean Ltd’s request to annul a 2012 administrative order by Chief Executive Chui Sai On which invalidated the company’s provisional leaseholds of five plots of land where the aborted La Scala residential project is located, according to a statement issued by the court on Wednesday.
Chui’s predecessor Edmund Ho Hau Wah issued an administrative order to transfer the provisional land concessions of the five plots from several companies to Moon Ocean in 2006. Chui issued an administrative order in 2012 to invalidate the transfer.
The company was headed by Hong Kong real estate tycoon Joseph Lau Luen Hung. Lau and his business partner Steven Lo Kit Sing were both sentenced in absentia by a local court to five years and three months each for bribing the city’s then secretary for public works and transport Ao Man Long to facilitate their bids for the five plots. Lau and Lo have so far escaped imprisonment because they have not set foot in Macau since the verdicts. Both have denied the graft allegations.
Moon Ocean later requested the Court of Second Instance (TSI) to annul Chui’s administrative order, but the court rejected the appeal.
In March, the government declared that the leaseholds were annulled because the plots had not been developed when the leaseholds expired on December 13 last year.
Meanwhile, the Spokesperson’s Office of the Government (GPV) said in a statement that the government “respects and welcomes” the top court’s ruling. Pledging that the plots in question have been earmarked for public use, the government also said the plots “will be primarily considered for the construction of public housing”.