Singapore

Director in bribery trial told partner to keep expenses vague

AMK town council bribery trial:

A company director on trial for alleged bribery had told his business partner not to keep receipts of the drinking and karaoke sessions that he took a town council's former general manager to.

Chia Sin Lan, 63, also gave instructions to keep the remarks in a handwritten ledger of these expenses vague so that the authorities would not be able to find out easily about them, Mr Tay Eng Chuan, his partner, said in court yesterday.

An entry on May 18, 2015, for $3,700, for example, would have the letters "F" and "V" beside them.

Mr Tay said the "F" indicated the flower garlands, or sashes, that were bought for KTV singers as tips for their good performance, while "V" meant Victor, or Wong Chee Meng, the ex-GM of Ang Mo Kio Town Council.

Both Chia and Wong, 58, are being tried for bribes totalling more than $107,000, which Chia allegedly gave Wong for almost two years.

This was in exchange for advancing the business interests of Chia's companies - 19-ANC Enterprise and 19-NS2 Enterprise - which did work for town councils, such as repairs and redecoration.

'HANGING OF FLOWERS'

On the first day of the trial's second tranche in the State Court, Mr Tay, a former director of 19-NS2, took the stand and was questioned about his relationship with Chia.

Mr Tay said he and Chia jointly maintained and signed off on a handwritten record summarising 19-NS2's incoming funds and expenditure.

Mr Tay said Chia would claim for expenses by showing him the bills for drinks and the "hanging of flowers".

Deputy Senior State Counsel Jiang Ke-Yue asked him where these receipts were kept. Mr Tay replied that most of the receipts were lost and Chia told him to "destroy" them.

The Court also heard of Chinese New Year dinners that Mr Tay attended with Chia, Wong and other business associates on two occasions, in 2015 and 2016.

Mr Tay said he met Wong's mistress, Ms Xu Hongmei, at the 2015 outing. Among the 54 charges brought against Wong, three involve overseas remittances amounting to $30,600, which Chia allegedly gave to Ms Xu, who is from China.

Mr Tay said Wong first referred to Ms Xu as his "distant relative" but at a KTV session, he noticed that Wong would "hug, kiss and touch her" in front of others.

He also said the hostesses at Super Star KTV, in Newton, were very friendly towards Wong and a year later, towards Chia.

"I thought they patronised this place regularly," he added.

Public prosecutors yesterday withdrew one charge each from Chia and Wong. This was for a hotel stay at Fragrance Hotel worth around $35, which Chia allegedly paid for Wong. Like Wong, Chia also faces 54 charges.

COURT & CRIME