A former deputy general manager of a construction and engineering company appeared in court yesterday accused of transferring HK$20.3 million in crime proceeds to a company controlled by the jailed former Macau minister Ao Man-long. Macau resident and engineer Ieong Wa-kong, 43, did not enter a plea in Eastern Court to one count of dealing with property representing proceeds of an indictable offence. Magistrate Winston Leung Wing-chung transferred the case to the District Court for plea on September 24. He granted Ieong bail of HK$40,000 with the condition that he does not leave the city. On November 12, 2005, Ieong is alleged to have transferred bank deposits of HK$20.3 million to a bank account in Hong Kong of a company controlled by Ao, then Macau's secretary for transport and public works. Ieong formerly worked for Companhia de Construcao e Engenharia San Meng Fai Limitada. Ao, the highest-ranking Macau official to be charged and convicted for graft since the 1999 handover, was jailed for 281/2 years by Macau's Court of Final Appeal in April last year. Ao was convicted of 81 counts of bribe-taking, money laundering, power abuse and other charges. In sentencing him, Mr Justice Sam Hou-fai said Ao would be jailed for 368 years if punishments for each count of his graft-related offences were added up. He noted that the maximum jail term in Macau was 30 years. The number of Ao's crimes and the time over which they were committed were unprecedented, he said. Ao's assets in Hong Kong and Macau, worth 40.8 million patacas, had been gained illegally and should be seized, the Macau court was told then. In February last year, Hong Kong's Court of First Instance stepped in and granted a judgment as part of the confiscation order sought by Macau to recover assets Ao and his relatives retained in Hong Kong. Madam Justice Carlye Chu Fun-ling ordered the defendants - Ao, his father Ao Veng-kong, his brother Ao Man-fu, his sister-in-law Ao Chan Wa-choi and three companies - to pay any amount still missing plus unspecified damages and interest. According to a suit filed by the Macau government in Hong Kong's High Court in July 2008, Ao took more than HK$637 million in kickbacks from construction companies that he approved to build casinos, bridges, public buildings, a sports stadium and other projects. The scandal fuelled social discontent in Macau and prompted the public to call for more transparency in urban planning and public projects.