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Tuesday, April 30, 2024

RM232mil road project awarded to Nepturis, witness tells Wan Saiful trial


Tasek Gelugor MP Wan Saiful Wan Jan is accused of soliciting bribes and money laundering over a RM232 million highway contract. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The sessions court here was told that the contract for the central spine road project’s Sertik to East Coast Highway intersection work was awarded to Nepturis Sdn Bhd.

The works ministry’s deputy secretary of the development and privatisation division Fauzi Hanafiah, 46, said that in May 2022, a letter from the finance ministry to the chief secretary of the works ministry indicated that the then finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz had approved the intersection project worth an estimated RM232 million.

He said this approval was subject to conditions, including that the allocations should have been approved; all financial regulations and procedures must be fully complied with; the contract price of RM232 million must be adjusted based on the agreement of the involved parties, and the public works department must make sure Nepturis was free of any legal action against it before the letter of acceptance was signed.

“The letter dated May 13, 2022, was signed by Rosni Yusoff from the government procurement division at the finance ministry,” the sixth prosecution witness said in reading out his statement in the corruption and money laundering trial of former Bersatu information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

Fauzi said the works ministry did not specify projects to be included in the Jana Wibawa programme.

“I am not sure how any project was determined to be included in the Jana Wibawa programme.

“I confirm that the central spine road project’s Sertik to the East Coast Highway intersection work was included in the Jana Wibawa programme based on information from the finance ministry to the works ministry, and communicated to the public works department,” he said.

Jana Wibawa was introduced during the administration of then prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin with the objective of speeding up project implementation and improving the national economy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In response to a question from deputy public prosecutor Rasyidah Murni Adzmi, the witness said the highway project would be fully completed by 2027.

Fauzi also told lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad, representing Wan Saiful, that all projects exceeding RM100 million must be approved by the finance ministry.

Fauzi agreed with the lawyer that as the central spine road project exceeded RM100 million, the decision to select and appoint a contractor for the project was made by the finance ministry.

Wan Saiful, 47, has been charged with soliciting bribes from Lian Tan Chuan as an inducement to help Nepturis obtain the RM232 million central spine road project’s Sertik to the East Coast Highway intersection work from the government through pre-qualification.

He is also alleged to have received RM6.96 million in cash through his company WSA Advisory Group Sdn Bhd’s CIMB Bank Bhd account from Nepturis’s Maybank Islamic Bhd account as payment for assisting the company in obtaining the letter of approval for the project.

The Tasek Gelugor MP is alleged to have committed both offences at the Royal Lake Club, Taman Tasik Perdana, here, in April 2022 and at CIMB Bank Bhd Bukit Tunku branch between July 8 and Sept 30, 2022.

Wan Saiful is also facing 18 charges of laundering RM5.59 million by transferring and using the proceeds of illegal activities, including the purchase of a Ford Ranger, payments to the National Sports Council, and transferring the funds to several company accounts, one of which belonged to Sinar Karangkraf Sdn Bhd.

The offences were allegedly committed at CIMB Bank Bhd’s Bukit Tunku branch here between Aug 12 and Nov 13, 2022. The charges were framed under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

Hearing before judge Rozina Ayob will continue on May 20. - FMT

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