Siblings jailed three years for tender fraud

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2007, 12:00am

Two brothers and a sister were jailed for three years yesterday for conspiring to cheat the judiciary by successfully tendering for a HK$61 million contract using forged documents.

District Court Judge Andrew Chan Hing-wai sentenced Lui Mei-chi, 41, his sister Lui Mei-chong, 40, and their brother Lui Yuen-fai, 36, on one count of conspiracy to defraud.

The three had pleaded not guilty to the offence, committed between June and October 2004. They were found guilty on Friday of having fraudulently obtained a HK$61 million contract to supply court audio recording and transcription services.

The judge said the scheme had undermined the credibility of the tendering process, which had been 'a transparent exercise'.

'The unauthorised and illegal use of resumes, reference letters, customers' questionnaires and other documents showed that the three defendants were sophisticated and well-planned,' he said in sentencing.

Judge Chan said the offence could have had a serious effect on the legal system in Hong Kong.

'The system was not an ordinary recording and transcription system, because it involved the production of important judgments with far-reaching consequences. Law reports are produced as a result of the transcription system, and they make the foundation of our common law.'

Judge Chan said he had considered 'the detailed planning, the degree of sophistication, the benefits to the defendants, the amount of money involved and the negative impact on the tendering process'.

The court heard the judiciary invited open tenders for a contract to supply court recording and transcript services in 2004.

Tenders had to pass five stages of assessment.

Five companies submitted bids, including the siblings on behalf of their company, Megaluck International, which won the contract.

'The government didn't suffer any financial loss because the performance of the defendants' company was satisfactory, but the defendants were unjustly enriched,' Judge Chan said.

'The exact amount I don't know, but it wouldn't be a small figure.'

The court heard earlier that to qualify for the bid, the three had falsely presented two employees of their company as being experts in the field.

They provided false accounts of their work history and services provided by submitting purported reference letters from two companies, which they claimed were clients of Megaluck International.

An Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation found the two companies were owned by the siblings, and that their business was swimming-pool maintenance, not audio-conferencing services.

The three also made a false claim about company revenues between 2003 and 2004, saying they amounted to HK$2.1 million.

Convicting them on Friday, Judge Chan said the judiciary's assessment panel would not have awarded the contract to them if it had known the documents and information they had provided were false.