Senegal's former foreign affairs minister arrested in the USA for bribery

Patrick Ho who was the secretary general of CEFC China Energy Co.’s China Energy Fund think tank back in 2011 was not authorized to “engage in such business behavior,” CEFC said in a statement

Prosecutors said that in one scheme, Ho and Gadio were charged with causing the energy company to offer a USD2 million bribe to the president of Chad to obtain valuable oil rights from the Chadian government without facing global competition.

"In an worldwide 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 Kim said in a statement.

The US has charged a former Senegalese foreign minister and the head of a non-governmental organization in Hong Kong with bribing top officials in Chad and Uganda to secure business deals on behalf of a Chinese energy conglomerate, the US Justice Department said on Monday.

Gadio, a former Foreign Minister of Senegal, who operated an worldwide consulting firm, was arrested in NY on Friday afternoon on money laundering charges and appeared before a USA judge on Saturday.

"Wiring nearly a million dollars through New York's banking system in furtherance of their corrupt schemes, the defendants allegedly sought to generate business through bribes paid to the president of Chad and the Ugandan foreign minister".

But a small outfit named China Energy Fund Committee fits the NGO's description in the complaint. CEFC is widely seen as a kind of mysterious company that has close ties to the Chinese government and plays a key part in President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road global expansion plan, according to observers.

"Their bribes and corrupt acts hurt our economy and undermine confidence in the free marketplace", said Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco. The payments and promises were made in exchange for the foreign minister's help in obtaining business advantages for the unnamed top Chinese oil company, including possibly acquiring a Ugandan bank.

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Ho led a Hong Kong-based organisation called the China Energy Fund Committee, which is itself funded by CEFC China Energy.

Sweeney Jr., head of New York's Federal Bureau of Investigation office, said Ho and Gadio wanted to "get their hands on the rights to lucrative opportunities in Africa".

The two men were officially charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and worldwide money laundering.

Ho also offered gifts to the Ugandan Foreign Minister and President and promised them future benefits, such as getting their family involved in a joint venture in Uganda with the energy company.

As for Chi Ping Patrick Ho, the USA justice accuses him of having transferred money to the account of the Ugandan minister of foreign affairs, in addition to providing him gifts and making him other favors.

The detailed allegations shed new light on the company, a privately owned enterprise that in just a few years has risen to prominence in China's oil and gas sector, which is dominated by state-owned behemoths.

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