KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 21): Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) information chief Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan was charged at the Sessions Court on Tuesday (Feb 21) with soliciting bribes in connection with the Jana Wibawa programme which was established to help Bumiputera contractors.
Wan Saiful, who is the current Tasek Gelugor MP, was charged with soliciting bribes from Nepturis Sdn Bhd to facilitate its pre-approval as a contractor by the government in April 2022 for the Central Spine Road project worth RM232 million.
The second charge was for receiving a bribe amounting to RM6.96 million from Nepturis through his company.
Wan Saiful, who was represented by lawyer Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, pleaded not guilty to both charges before judge Azura Alwi. Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin was the deputy public prosecutor.
Both charges pertaining to alleged corruption involving the government’s Jana Wibawa scheme were brought under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.
On the first count, Wan Saiful is charged with having solicited an unspecified amount for the aforementioned RM232 million project from a Lian Tan Chuan.
On the second charge, he is charged with receiving RM6,962,694.54 through his company’s CIMB bank account under WSA Advisory Group Sdn Bhd from Nepturis.
The charges were read out to him and stated that he had committed the offences between July 8 to Sept 30 in 2022.
Both charges under the MACC Act are punishable under Section 24 of the Act, and carry a sentence of up to 20 years’ of jail and a fine of not less than five times the amount of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Wan Saiful was let out on a RM400,000 bail but the court ordered that his passport be impounded.
He is also required to report to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) once every two months, pending the outcome of his trial. Case management was set for March 22.
Former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was in attendance, together with Opposition leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin and other top brass of Bersatu.
Jana Wibawa, or Program Jana Ekonomi Pemerkasaan Kontraktor Bumiputera Berwibawa, was a scheme to improve the capacity of Bumiputera contractors in the construction industry, as well as to expedite project execution to spur the nation’s economic recovery post Covid-19.
MACC had launched investigations in the wake of allegations that contractors chosen under the programme had deposited a total of RM300 million into the party accounts of Bersatu. The agency had frozen Bersatu’s bank accounts to facilitate its probe.
Former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was summoned by the MACC last week to record his statement regarding Jana Wibawa. It was reported that Muhyiddin was among individuals being investigated by the agency over the matter, but he has claimed that he was called-in to give his statement and was not a suspect.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, who served as finance minister under Muhyiddin, on Tuesday also confirmed that he had been summoned by the MACC over the matter.
On Feb 15, the government announced that RM5.7 billion worth of rural development projects under the Jana Wibawa scheme had been postponed to review whether contracts had been awarded in accordance with procurement processes and governance requirements set by the Treasury.
At a separate court on Tuesday, businessman Adam Radlan Adam Muhammad was also charged under the MACC Act in relation to the Jana Wibawa programme.