Macau finance chief fired for scam

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 February, 2010, 12:00am

A top official in Macau has been fired after a Committee of Audit report accused three unnamed officials of creating a scam to make millions by holding hundreds of 'irrationally organised' meetings.

Macau media reported yesterday that Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak-yuen had signed an order to dismiss the former director of the Finance Services Bureau, Orieta Lau Ioc Ip, for having 'damaged the prestige of the public administration' and the public's confidence placed in her.

The order went on to say the decision was taken following 'facts revealed in the report of the Committee of Audit about the operations of the motor vehicle tax assessment committee that is chaired by the director of the Finance Services Bureau,' according to a report by the Macau Post Daily yesterday.

Last September, a Committee of Audit report accused three officials from the Finance Services Bureau of taking part in a scam to earn extra money by attending excessive and irrationally organised meetings of the motor vehicle trade assessment committee.

Between 2006 and 2008, the officials pocketed an estimated 4.28 million patacas in extra pay.

The assessment committee held between 259 and 304 meetings a year in that two-year period, up to eight meetings a day with each meeting allegedly averaging two hours.

Although the three officials were not named, regulations state that the assessment committee comprises the director of the Finance Service Bureau, the vice-director, and another staff member from the bureau.

Lau took up the post of director in May 2007.

Internal disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the trio following the report, and a month later, after Lau had been suspended pending an appeal of the disciplinary proceedings, her deputy, Vitoria Alice Maria Conceicao was named as acting director.

Lau's dismissal does not affect her status as a permanent civil servant.