Jailed works chief fronts court in bid to delay trial
Ao Man-long, Macau's imprisoned former transport and public works chief, yesterday broke his silence for the first time since his latest trial began on graft charges.
The charges relate to extensive documents that investigators found at his home in 2006.
Among them are four pieces of paper with notes detailing Ao's alleged corruption regarding several sewerage treatment plant projects.
Ao said he was not home at the time of the raid.
'Just now, I saw four documents on the screen,' he said.
'They were not written by me. I plead for a verification of the handwriting.'
However, he refused to say whether the contents of the documents were true.
His defence lawyer, Fong Kin-fao, also asked for the handwriting to be verified before the trial should be allowed to proceed, arguing it would affect the authenticity of the testimony of the next witness.
But Mr Justice Shum Ho-fai rejected their request, saying there was no signature on the papers and that Ao might not have have written the notes even though they were found at his house.
Shum said the court would consider all the evidence in their entirety, and not just the four pieces of paper only.
Ao, who was jailed for 281/2 years for corruption, faces six counts of bribe-taking and three counts of money-laundering for six government projects.
One of the projects was a tender for five plots of land opposite the Macau airport, through which Ao allegedly pocketed HK$20 million.
'I am sorry. I have been living in the prison for so many years. I may not speak clearly,' Ao yesterday said in an aggrieved tone. 'I live alone. I am so sorry.'
Investigators said they also found a name card of Hong Kong property tycoon Steven Lo Kit-sing in Ao's home.
But Ao said that was impossible, as he had passed all name cards he received to his assistant and would not keep any himself.
Lo allegedly won bids to purchase Macau property sites through Ao's government influence, according to the indictment.
Senior anti-graft investigator Io Fu-chun showed the court a fax, allegedly written by Ao, that was passed to Lo asking him for payment of HK$20 million.
Io said the fax was not found at Ao's home but was provided by Lo.
The number of times an official, who reviewed bids for airport land, contacted Ao during the review period from June to October in 2005