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Chad President Idris Deby Denies Receiving $2 Million Bribe

Chad President Idriss Deby has strongly denied receiving a US$2 million (HK$15.6 million) bribe from Hong Kong’s former home affairs secretary, Patrick Ho Chi-ping, in exchange for oil rights for a Chinese company.

Ho was arrested along with a former Senegalese foreign minister in New York on Saturday over two alleged bribery schemes in Chad and Uganda.

If convicted, Ho could be jailed for up to 20 years.

Chad’s government emphatically dismissed the allegations. “Faced with this umpteenth false allegation, the government of Chad formally refutes this shameful fabrication,” it said in a statement.

The US Justice Department accused Ho and Chad’s foreign minister, Cheikh Gadio, of leading the alleged multimillion-dollar bribery schemes in Africa, on behalf of a top Chinese oil company, with some deals arranged in the halls of the United Nations. They allegedly offered the US$2 million bribe to Deby “to obtain valuable oil rights” for the Chinese firm.

The Chad government said it “rebels against the attitude of the US government and certain agencies that would tarnish the image of Chad and its president.”

It added: “The president of the republic has always worked for the transparency and proper management of its natural resources.”

However, the indictment states the defendants attended “an in-person meeting” with Deby.

Meanwhile, Ho’s lawyer Edward Kim Young-kyu has not disclosed any details of the court dates, or whether Ho has been released on bail.

Sources said Ho has been remanded to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.

Before his arrest, Ho was working at a non-governmental organization fully funded by CEFC China Energy, a Shanghai-based firm.

The US Justice Department alleges Ho, with Gadio’s assistance, represented the energy company in January 2015 to offer the US$2 million bribe to Deby, who then provided the firm with an exclusive opportunity to obtain oil rights.

The indictment said Gadio was the middle man, and was paid US$400,000 by Ho.

 

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