The bribe, by Chi Ping Patrick Ho, was allegedly meant to help the Chinese company to secure business advantages in Uganda.
Ho was charged alongside former Senegalese foreign minister Cheikh Gadio over an alleged multimillion-dollar bribery scheme targeting top officials from Uganda and Chad in return for benefits to a top Chinese energy firm he was representing.
The two men are charged with criminal bribery in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and worldwide money laundering.
Under that legislation, it is illegal to bribe foreign officials to gain a business advantage.
Ho was Hong Kong Home Affairs secretary from 2002 to 2007, and served for several years on the Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee Conference. He Zhiping is the mainland Chinese way of transliterating Ho's name.
Now, with CEFC China Energy seemingly benefitting from these bribery deals, one can not help but wonder about the impact that the investigation may have on the ambitious OBOR initiative.
The company was not identified in the announcement or the complaint filed in NY federal district court, but details in the complaint pointed to CEFC China Energy, the Shanghai-based rising star of China's energy industry.
On Oct. 19, 2014, Ho met Kutesa at the United Nations. He has been a broker for peace in Africa and overseen the expenditure of millions of dollars.
U.S. charges two with bribing African officials for China energy firm
According to a criminal complaint, Gadio - the former foreign minister of Senegal and the operator of an worldwide consulting firm - connected Ho with the president of Chad in return for a $400,000 payment from Ho.
In exchange, Deby is alleged to have provided the energy company with "an exclusive" opportunity to obtain particular oil rights in Chad without facing worldwide competition, according to the criminal complaint.
While the name of the Chinese firm that the duo was said to be helping has not been revealed by the U.S. officials, details in the complaint filed in NY federal district court hint at the firm being CEFC China Energy based in Shanghai.
Ho is alleged to have paid Deby $400,000 for his services via wire transfers transmitted through NY.
Meanwhile, as per the investigation, Chad's president received a bribe of $2 million and he then gave the Chinese firm an opportunity to land oil rights in the land-locked country without any competition.
It accused Ho of offering US$2 million to Deby, who allegedly pledged an exclusive opportunity for the company Ho represented to obtain oil rights in Chad without facing global competition.
The charges were based on their use of the United States banking system to process nearly a million dollars in payoffs, sent under the guise of donations.
The embassy of Chad in Washington and Uganda's mission to the United Nations in NY did not respond to requests for comment.