Fri, Nov 30, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Chadian president rejected US$2m bribe: diplomat


Chadian President Idriss Deby was enraged four years ago after a Chinese oil and gas company tried to bribe him with US$2 million cash secreted in gift boxes, Senegalese diplomat Cheikh Gadio told a federal jury on Wednesday.

Deby demanded an explanation from CEFC China Energy after meeting with the conglomerate to discuss oil rights in the African nation, Gadio said.

Deby rejected the bribe and asked him why “people believe that all African leaders are corrupt,” he said.

“I had never seen him in that state,” Gadio said of Deby. “He was really, really angry — even furious.”

Gadio brokered business meetings between Deby and Patrick Ho Chi-ping (何志平), a prominent Hong Kong businessman on trial on bribery and money laundering charges.

Ho is also accused of lining the pockets of the Ugandan foreign minister and contravening the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Ho’s defense attorneys have argued that the cash was a charitable donation that was documented, and that Gadio’s testimony should not be trusted and contradicts a paper trail of records.

Gadio was indicted in the case, but federal prosecutors dismissed the charges in exchange for his testimony, the most anticipated of the trial.

Prosecutors originally accused him of playing “an instrumental role” in the bribery scheme, connecting Ho to high-ranking African officials and receiving US$400,000 for his efforts.

Prosecutors say that money, wired to Gadio’s consulting firm, was sent through a bank in Manhattan.

Gadio told jurors that Ho was “impressed” by Deby’s refusal to accept the cash.

CEFC China Energy representatives then claimed the money had been intended all along as a donation to the Chadian government, he said.

Ho’s defense attorneys say that CEFC China Energy received nothing in return for the cash payment.

However, prosecutors allege that the company was offered the oil rights “without international competition,” although it ultimately purchased other oil rights in Chad from a Taiwanese company.

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