Singapore

AMKTC bribery trial: Partner had ‘misgivings’ about company’s morals

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Director on trial for bribery 'angered' by partner wanting out of business

A company director being tried for bribery became furious when his business partner wanted to withdraw his shares from their firm, and allegedly wanted to report him to the authorities.

Chia Sin Lan, 63, had told Mr Tay Eng Chuan in a text message in August 2016 that he was "angry" and wanted to invite him to "drink coffee".

Mr Tay told the State Courts yesterday that he understood that to mean that Chia wanted to report him to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

Details of the fall out between the pair emerged on the ninth day of a corruption trial.

The case centres on more than $107,000 in bribes - including karaoke sessions, dinners and free use of a mobile phone line - that Chia allegedly gave to Ang Mo Kio Town Council's former general manager Wong Chee Meng.

This was for allegedly advancing the business interests of Chia's firms, 19-ANC Enterprise and 19-NS2 Enterprise.

During Mr Tay's sixth day on the stand, he was also cross-examined by Wong's lawyer, who said Wong had paid part of the expenses for a 2016 KTV outing.

Mr Tay told the Court yesterday he wanted to withdraw from 19-NS2 because there was "no meaning to it".

He told Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Jiang Ke-Yue that he had several misgivings.

Mr Tay mentioned, for example, his role in the employment of Wong's daughter-in-law, Stella Le Thi Hien, at a firm called 4-Ever Engineering.

Ms Le's wages were paid by 19-NS2, which Mr Tay said had been Chia's idea.

Mr Tay's role was to reimburse 4-Ever Engineering for Ms Le's salary every month, using cash.

Based on court documents, Ms Le received more than $8,200, over a period of about six months in 2016 - part of the 54 counts of bribery the prosecution has brought against both Chia and Wong.

Mr Tay said: "So after seeing all this, these are related to bribery. And (it has) differed from our original principles when we founded the company and (its) business morals, I feel that it is better to withdraw my shares."

But when Mr Tay wanted out, Chia sent him a photo showing a debit card which was registered to Mr Tay's own company, and also a mobile phone SIM card. This debit card - which Chia had asked Mr Tay to apply for - was allegedly used to entertain Wong.

After the prosecution wrapped up its questioning, Wong's lawyer Melanie Ho cross-examined Mr Tay.

Ms Ho established with Mr Tay that at a KTV session in 2016, hostesses were engaged to entertain the guests. Mr Tay agreed with Ms Ho that these services would be paid in cash, separate from the drinks.

She asked Mr Tay if he was aware that Wong had paid for drinks and for the KTV room that evening. Mr Tay replied that he did not know as he had left early that night.

COURT & CRIME