Wed, 4 Oct 2023


Sabah Water Department scandal: Contractor says kickbacks ensured him new projects
Published on: Friday, May 26, 2023
By: Cynthia D Baga
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Sabah Water Department scandal: Contractor says kickbacks ensured him new projects
Wong said as a contractor, they just followed the order from the officer-in-charge in that division.
Kota Kinabalu: Former Water Department Director Ag Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib had never refused to receive the commissions (cash money) that were given by a contractor, the Corruption Special Court was told.

Wong Kok Vui @ Michael, 69, who further testified before Judge Abu Bakar Manat, said when he gave the cash Ag Tahir never said no and after receiving the money would say thank you.

He told the court that he gave the commissions in cash to Ag Tahir and several others even in huge amounts because it had been the practice in previous years.

Wong further told the court that the agreement to give money to Ag Tahir started when Wong said “something for you for the purpose of return thanks.”

According to Wong, the “return thanks” referred for Ag Tahir’s assistance to Wong in getting projects at the District Water Department and the Divisional Water Department. 

Wong was testifying in the trial of Ag Tahir, 58, his wife, Fauziah Piut, 55, who are jointly tried with Lim Lam Beng, 66, on 37 counts of money-laundering charges involving cash and bank savings amounting to RM61.57 million, as well as unlawful possession of luxury goods.

To another question from Deputy Public Prosecutor Mahadi Abdul Jumaat, Wong said he did not set any percentage for Ag Tahir’s commission but based on his profit budget, he could only give RM1.35 million.

He further said there was no need to record payment of commissions to Ag Tahir because the amounts were almost the same and easy to remember.

Apart from the money he gave to Ag Tahir, Wong said there were no assets or other valuables given to Ag Tahir.

Wong further testified that his company got the new projects, which were for maintenance, from the Sabah Water Department (JANS) and sometimes he also received the emergency works project but little.

According to Wong, for the new maintenance projects, the contractor would be appointed through open tender and the allocation approved by the Director.

During cross-examination by counsel Priskila Akwila Sinem who defended Ag Tahir and Fauziah, Wong agreed that the commission of 30 per cent was not given to Ahmad Sapawi as ordered by Teo Chee Kong and not from Ag Tahir.

Wong said as a contractor, they just followed the order from the officer-in-charge in that division.

He further said Ag Tahir never asked him to give 30 per cent to the Divisional/District Water Engineers.

Wong agreed that giving money to Ag Tahir was voluntary (sukarela) and also agreed with Priskila that Ag Tahir never asked for the money.

He also agreed that there was no evidence or testimony or witness to support his statement that he had handed over money to Ag Tahir.

In re-examination in chief by Mahadi, Wong said he agreed that he followed Teo’s order because the area was under Teo and that he needed to follow orders by Teo to avoid problems.

“That it was his area, so any order from Teo, we need to follow as a contractor not only on commission but the actual work to be carried out,” said Wong.

He further explained he agreed with the counsel the money was given voluntarily because as he mentioned earlier, he got the projects with the help of the allocation from the Sabah State Water Department Director Ag Tahir.

“If I do not show my appreciation to Divisional/District Water Engineers, the only thing I can do is to return some money to Ag Tahir so that I can continue with the Divisional/District Water Engineers with the allocation by Ag Tahir,” he said.

Wong further said he agreed with the counsel that there was no witness when the money was handed over to Ag Tahir because to give the money to Ag Tahir was an offence.

Lim was defended by Datuk Tan Hock Chuan, Baldev Singh, Karpaljit Singh and Aaron Lau.

Trial continues.


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