A U.S. Appellate Court has upheld the bribery conviction for Chi Ping Patrick Ho, the former Hong Kong home affairs secretary and former chairman of a think tank funded by a Chinese energy conglomerate, CEFC.
Ho was convicted on Dec. 5, 2018, on charges related to corruption and fraud. He was accused of offering bribes on behalf of CEFC China Energy, a major Chinese energy conglomerate, to Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa among other officials.
Prosecutors said that Kutesa accepted a $500,000 bribe disguised as a payment to a charitable foundation from Ho around February 2016.
Despite Ho’s claim of insufficient evidence, the judges said in the ruling that evidence introduced at trial was more than sufficient to prove that Ho was guilty of having been involved in fraud and corruption.
The bribes were made to secure oil rights and in pursuit of lucrative businesses deals on behalf of the Chinese energy behemoth CEFC, which funded a think tank that touted a special consultative status with the United Nations and an office in Manhattan.
According to court documents, Kutesa, who had just completed his term as UN chairman had also told Ho of how Crane Bank Uganda was on sale, a claim which was not true at the time.
Ho was sentenced last year to 36 months in prison and imposed a fine of $400,000. He was released in June due to good behavior.
It ought to be remembered that back in Uganda, Kutesa, the recipient of the bribe has never been charged over the same.