US arrests two Chinese oil company reps in Africa bribery scheme


US authorities arrested two officials representing a Chinese energy company in a multi-year, multimillion dollar bribery scheme in Africa, with some deals arranged in the halls of the United Nations, officials announced Monday.

Former Senegalese foreign minister Cheikh Gadio and Hong Kong's former home affairs secretary Chi Ping Patrick Ho sent huge bribes to high-level officials in Chad and Uganda to secure favorable oil business for a Chinese state energy company, according to a statement.

The pair allegedly offered a $2 million bribe to the President of Chad "to obtain valuable oil rights," and a $500,000 bribe to an account designated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda, who had recently completed his term as the President of the UN General Assembly.

"In an international 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.

With almost a million dollars wired through New York's banking system, the bribes were said to have been sent under the guise of 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.

"Their bribes and corrupt acts hurt our economy and undermine confidence in the free marketplace," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco.


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. They were arrested over the weekend in New York. 

AFP

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