Beaufort contractors contributed RM1 million a year – witness

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KOTA KINABALU (May 26): A former water engineer for Beaufort told the State Water Department corruption trial on Friday that contribution money from contractors in Beaufort was estimated between RM800,000 and one million a year.

Suhaimi Asbullah, 58, told Sessions Court judge Abu Bakar Manat that the estimated amount was for an average of 40 to 50 projects a year.

Under examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Haresh Prakash Somiah, the witness, who is also a civil engineer, testified that after contractors in Beaufort joined the contribution scheme, the district had been receiving additional allocation of 35 to 40 percent from the previous rate when the said scheme had not been introduced.

“The channelling of the allocation also became more consistent after joining the scheme,” the witness explained.

To a question, the witness, who is now a new director for the State Water Department, said that the amount of money would be handed over to a person whom the witness referred to as Teo.

“I will contact Mr Teo and informed him about delivering the said money and Teo will decide the place where the money will be delivered.

“Normally, the place will be at Teo’s house. I know the place but the house address, I’m not sure,” said Suhaimi.

The witness further testified that the money would be kept inside a courier bag.

“The notes were in RM50,” the witness further testified.

To another question, Suhaimi explained that Teo did not want the small amount of money, so he gathered the money until it reached 200,000 to 250,000.

To another question, the witness said that he had been contacted by three Ag Mohd Tahir’s alleged agents asking him to prepare a letter to apply for allocations to implement projects in Beaufort.

“They claimed that one was Ag Mohd Tahir’s personal driver and the other two are Ag Mohd Tahir’s cousins,” said the witness.

Suhaimi further testified that apart from the three individuals, there was one agent who claimed to be Ag Mohd Tahir’s brother but he did not directly contact him. The deal was through another person, who informed the witness to prepare allocation application letter.

To another question, the witness said no contractors in Beaufort had disagreed with the conditions of the said scheme .

“The contractors had agreed because they would benefit from the scheme. They would continue to get projects without going through open tender process,” said the witness.

Suhaimi was giving his oral evidence in the trial of former director of the department, Ag Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, 59, Ag Mohd Tahir’s wife Fauziah Hj Piut, 57, and former deputy director of the department, Lim Lam Beng @ Lim Chee Hong, 68, for alleged money laundering offences involving cash and huge amount of bank savings as well as unlawful possession of luxury goods.

Ag Mohd Tahir faces 11 charges and Fauziah faces 19 charges under Section 4 (1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

Fauziah has another two joint charges with Ag Mohd Tahir under Section 4 (1)(b) also of the same Act and Ag Tahir also has another charge under Section 4(1)(a) of the same Act.

Ag Mohd Tahir and Fauziah allegedly committed the offences at his office here, a house in Sembulan, at bank branches, at a condominium, in Sulaman and a tower in Kuala Lumpur between October 4 and November 4, 2016.

Lim was alleged to have committed the offences at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office at Jalan UMS and at a house here between October 13 and November 8, 2016.

Deputy public prosecutor Mahadi Abdul Jumaat also handled the trial.

Counsel Priskila Akwila Sinem and Mohammed Fareez Mohammed Salleh represented Ag Mohd Tahir and Fauziah.

Meanwhile Lim was represented by counsel Datuk Tan Hock Chuan, Baldev Singh, Karpaljit Singh and Calvin Wong

The trial will resume on June 20-22.