USA arrests ex-Hong Kong and Senegal officials in bribery case

US arrests ex-Hong Kong and Senegal officials in bribery case

Patrick Chi Ping Ho and Cheikh Gadio are charged with offering US$2 million to Chad's president, Idriss Deby, to grant oil rights to the Chinese company and US$500,000 to the Foreign Minister of Uganda, Sam Kutesa, soon after he completed his term as President of the UN General Assembly.

"In an global corruption scheme that spanned the globe, Chi Ping Patrick Ho and Cheikh Gadio allegedly conspired to bribe African government officials on behalf of a Chinese energy conglomerate", acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon H. Kim said in the statement.

Ho, 68, and Gadio, 61, are each charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and money laundering, with possible jail sentences of as much as 20 years. Prosecutors said the bribe was meant to secure business advantages for the energy company, which was not identified in court papers.

Ho is a former Hong Kong Secretary for Home Affairs and the head of China Energy Fund Committee, a think-tank specializing in energy and culture.

The criminal complaint does not name the non-profit or the Chinese company behind it.

"CEFC China Energy's role was apparent in the formal complaint", the publication reported.

CEFC China Energy released a statement late Tuesday "in response to some media reports" that He Zhiping, the general secretary of the fund, was being "prosecuted by the USA judicial authorities".

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"In March 2016, he was appointed a Member of the Multi stakeholder Advisory Group of Internet Governance Forum, to advise the Secretary-General of the United Nations", the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs reported.

According to the justice department, the defendants started plotting in 2014 after meeting at the United Nations in NY.

According to a criminal complaint, Gadio - the former foreign minister of Senegal and the operator of an global consulting firm - connected Ho with the president of Chad in return for a $400,000 payment from Ho. He has been a broker for peace in Africa and overseen the expenditure of millions of dollars.

Gadio is alleged to have connected Ho with Deby and conveyed the $2 million bribe offer to Deby. The payments and promises were made in exchange for the foreign minister's help in obtaining business advantages for the unnamed top Chinese oil company, including possibly acquiring a Ugandan bank. The goal here was to obtain shares in Uganda's oil market.

Ho also offered gifts to the Ugandan Foreign Minister and President and promised them future benefits, such as getting their family involved in a joint venture in Uganda with the energy company.

The defendants stand accused of wiring nearly a million dollars through New York's banking system as part of "an global corruption scheme that spanned the globe".

The embassy of Chad in Washington and Uganda's mission to the United Nations in NY did not respond to requests for comment.

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