By our reporter
A Chinese man who was charged in the US for offering bribes to Uganda’s foreign affairs minister Sam Kuteesa and Chad President Idriss Déby, has denied charges against him.
Chi Ping Patrick Ho, a former top official of the Hong Kong government pleaded not guilty in New York yesterday for charges that he tried to bribe Chad’s president and Uganda’s foreign minister. The federal charges read that Mr Ho and former Senegalese foreign minister Cheick Gadio offered more than $2 million in exchange for oil rights for a Chinese energy company, CEFC China Energy Company, a major energy conglomerate that is based in Shanghai and has ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
They were arrested and charged with money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Ho, is accused of offering two bribes including $2 million to President Idriss Déby of Chad “in exchange for securing business advantages” for the conglomerate in its effort to obtain oil rights in the country without facing international competition. The Senegalese former foreign affair minister Gadio was the conduit for the offer. He was also paid $400,000 wired through New York, as commission for his service.
The other charge involved paying $500,000 also wired through New York, to a bank account managed by Sam Kutesa, Uganda’s foreign minister.
Whereas the Uganda and Chad government denies allegations associated with their top officials, the federal court has gone ahead with the prosecution.
According to US law, Mr Ho could face up to 10 years in jail if convicted. However, he has pleaded not guilty before a Federal District Court in Manhattan before Judge Katherine B. Forrest.
There are hundreds of pages in custody of Douglas S. Zolkind, a federal prosecutor including emails, attachments, bank and phone records pointing to the involvement of the said officials.
The suspects, according to the prosecutors used 11 phones, four computers, a camera and other equipment seized during a search of the energy organization’s offices in Virginia; data from two cellphones, an iPad and multiple USB drives seized from Mr. Ho; records from three iPhones, a Samsung phone, and multiple USB drives and SIM cards seized from Mr. Gadio.