2 men accused of offering bribes to Uganda, Chad officials

Ruben Hill
November 21, 2017

The United States Justice Department has arrested Hong Kong's former home affairs secretary and the ex-foreign minister of Senegal on charges of bribing high-profile officials in Uganda and Chad to help a Chinese oil and gas company land important contracts.

Dr. Chi Ping Patrick Ho, 68, of Hong Kong, and Cheikh Gadio, 61, of Senegal, were charged in a criminal complaint in Manhattan federal court with violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, worldwide money laundering and conspiracy to commit both. Both remain in federal custody.

According to the complaint, Ho and Gadio began plotting in 2014 when they met at the United Nations in NY.

The charges, of violating money laundering legislation and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, could result in jail sentences of up to 20 years.

"Their bribes and corrupt acts hurt our economy and undermine confidence in the free marketplace", AFP quoted Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco as saying.

"These individuals allegedly offered millions of dollars in bribes to foreign officials, disguised as charitable donations, in order to seek business advantages". Ho, who heads a non-governmental organization based in Hong Kong and Virginia, was arrested on Saturday.

Ho is the secretary general of a Hong Kong-based organization called China Energy Fund Committee, which describes itself on its website as "a think tank registered and anchored in Hong Kong, devoted to public diplomacy, with special emphasis on energy and culture".

CEFC China Energy Company Limited is "a private collective enterprise with energy and financial serves as its core business", according to its website. Kutesa had just begun his one-year term as president of the United Nations General Assembly. The two, according to Department of Justice, bribed senior government officials in Uganda and Chad in favor of an unnamed company, which, Asia Times notes, the details in the DoJ complaint identify as CEFC.

Meanwhile, as per the investigation, Chad's president received a bribe of $2 million and he then gave the Chinese firm an opportunity to land oil rights in the land-locked country without any competition.

In exchange, Deby is alleged to have provided the energy company with "an exclusive" opportunity to obtain particular oil rights in Chad without facing worldwide competition, according to the criminal complaint.

The arrests were based on the two men's use of the US banking system to process the bribes disguised as donations.

Ho also provided the Ugandan Foreign Minister, as well as the President of Uganda, with gifts and promises of future benefits - including offering to share the profits of a potential joint venture, authorities said.

Ho is alleged to have paid Deby $400,000 for his services via wire transfers transmitted through NY. Additionally, a bribe of $500,000 was also wired to an account designated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda.

Federal prosecutors in the USA have charged two men accused of offering bribes to Uganda and Chad officials to secure business deals.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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