Former Minister's private secretary charged with RM3.1 million bribery

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 -- A former Cabinet minister’s senior private secretary was charged in the Sessions Court here today on 18 counts of accepting and soliciting bribes amounting to RM3,129,015, from a company owner to secure an advertising tender under the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

Mohd Saifullah Mohd Minggu @ Mohd Hisham, 29, pleaded not guilty after the charges were read out to him before Judge Azman Ahmad.

Meanwhile, his fiancée, Nurfadziana Abdul Kadir, 28, also claimed trial to a charge of abetting Mohd Saifullah in committing the offence by accepting a bribe of RM232,000.

The offences were allegedly committed around Kuala Lumpur namely at Red Box Karaoke and Coffee Bean outlets at the Pavilion shopping mall, Putra World Trade Centre, Vipod Residences, Maybank Taman Tun Dr Ismail branch, Wisma Genting and at his office at the Tourism Ministry in Putrajaya, between Jan 19 to July 29, 2019.

The prosecution was conducted by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy public prosecutor Farah Yasmin Salleh while counsel Md Yunos Sharif represented the two accused.

Mohd Saifullah was charged with 14 counts of accepting for himself, cash amounting to RM2,871,500 from the owner of Inter Bev Network, Ronald Seto Kong Seng through Roslan Lahada and Abdul Halim Khuajah.

This was as an inducement to help Inter Bev Network secure the Branding and Creative Services tender for Tourism Malaysia Advertising Campaign as well as Purchase of Advertising Space Service For North & East Asia.

The accused was also alleged to have promised Plan B Digital Sdn Bhd to secure the RFP-Global Advertising Agency And Promotion For Tourism Malaysia tender.

On another three counts, Mohd Saifullah was charged with soliciting from Ronald through Roslan, payment of deposit and rental for a unit at Vipod Residences, here, amounting to RM20,015 and receiving the payment through a Maybank cheque.

He was also charged with receiving a RM5,500 bribe from Ronald through Rosland, for rental payment of the same house, through a fund transfer via Maybank.

On another count, Mohd Saifullah was accused of receiving a bribe of RM232,000 from Ronald through his fiancee, Nurfadziana in connection with the same matter, for which the woman was charged with abetting Mohd Saifullah in receiving the money.

Mohd Saifullah was charged with committing all the offences under Section 16 (a) (B) of the MACC Act 2009 while Nurfadziana was charged under Section 28 (1).

The offences punishable under Section 24 of the same act carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of five times the value of the offence committed, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The court allowed Mohd Saifullah bail of RM200,000 with one surety. He was also told to surrender his passport to the court on or before Sept 2 and to report the nearest MACC office on the first week of each month while Nurfadziana was allowed bail of RM100,000 with the same conditions.

The court set Sept 23 for re-mention of both cases.

Earlier, the prosecution objected to bail being granted to Mohd Saifullah on the grounds that there was a possibility of the accused fleeing should he be released.

"This prosecution’s request is supported by the affidavit filed by the investigating officer that efforts were made by the MACC in locating the accused for investigations from June 10 to July 11.

For Nurfadziana, Farah Yasmin offered bail of RM500,000 considering the severity of the offence.

Meanwhile Md Yunos argued that according to the contents of the affidavit, the MACC only failed to track down Mohd Saifullah based on the efforts made, but no where was it stated that the accused had avoided or fled from the MACC.

"In the affidavit, the accused surrendered himself to the MACC on Aug 14. In fact he did not try to escape but instead, assisted in the investigations,” he said while appealing for reasonable bail amounts for both accused.

-- Source: BERNAMA

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