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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Top surveyor found guilty of all 20 corruption charges

Syazwan Sadikin

BRUNEI’S surveyor-general and a contractor have been found guilty of all corruption charges at the Magistrates’ Court yesterday in a trial that lasted more than three years.

Hj Mohammed Jamil Hj Mohammed Ali was found guilty of four counts of corruptly accepting $7,155.31 in bribes, to vary tender specifications for a government spatial mapping project.

The surveyor-general had accepted six return plane tickets, bill payments for car servicing, mobile phone chargers and broadband Internet from co-accused Puah Heng Yew of Selective Powertech Consulting.

Hj Mohammed Jamil was also found guilty of all 16 charges under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which forbids public servants from obtaining “valuable things” in the line of duty. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail and a fine.

Intermediate Court Judge Hj Abdullah Soefri POKSM DSP Hj Abidin also found Puah guilty of bribing the surveyor-general as an inducement or reward to vary tender specifications for a e-government project.

The court further found Puah guilty of abetting the commission of offences that were committed by the surveyor-general.

The case revolved around a $9.5 million e-government project to create a national spatial data infrastructure, which was awarded to Puah’s Selective Powertech Consulting in 2007.

However, it was revealed during the trial that the implementation of the project experienced problems such as delays in delivering hardware and disagreements between project members and the surveyor-general, while the Ministry of Development had been unaware of the changes made by Hj Mohammed Jamil.

The project was deemed “unsalvageable” after the contractor failed to meet its one-year completion date even after the firm was given an extension twice when the project fell behind schedule.

During the trial, Deputy Public Prosecutor Aldila Hj Mohd Salleh had called 15 prosecution witnesses including the former Deputy Permanent Secretary of Development Eddie Dato Paduka Hj Sunny and Deputy Auditor-general Pg Siti Norbaya Pg Shaminan.

Following the verdict yesterday, the court extended both defendants’ $10,000 bail and one local surety pending their mitigation on Saturday, September 13.

Defence counsel Ahmad Basuni Hj Abbas will be giving the mitigation on behalf of Hj Mohammed Jamil, while defence lawyer Mohd Shazale Salleh is representing Puah.

Sumber - The Brunei Times

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