Firm charged under new law

SHAH ALAM: A company which allegedly bribed to obtain business became the first commercial entity to be charged under a new legal provision in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

Pristine Offshore Sdn Bhd is facing a charge under Section 17A of the MACC Act 2009 for offering a bribe amounting to RM321,350 to secure a sub-contract from Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd.

The law came into effect on June 1 last year after an amendment was made to the MACC Act 2009 to address the issue of corporate liability in tackling public and private business entities involved in graft and business misconduct.

Section 17A of the MACC Act 2009 allows for companies to be held liable and charged in court in the event their officers offer or give bribes to secure business.

The offshore vessel support company had allegedly given the RM321,350 bribe to one Mazrin Ramli of Deleum Primera Sdn Bhd as inducement to secure a sub-contract from Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd.

The inducement was allegedly given to Mazrin, who is Deleum Primera Sdn Bhd chief operating officer (COO), by Pristine Offshore director Chew Ben Ben between June 29 and Oct 14 last year in Kinrara Niaga 3, Puchong, Selangor.

The charge against Pristine Offshore was read to its director Datuk Abdul Kamal Mohd Mydeen, who represented the company and was its surety.

Earlier, Chew was charged separately in the same court under Section 16(b)(A) of the MACC Act 2009 with bribing Mazrin.

Both charges were read before Sessions Court judge Rozilah Salleh who asked Abdul Kamal if he understood his role in the case.

“A company is being charged here and its representative must be in court on behalf of the company.

“If the representative does not attend court, the bail amount will be forfeited, ’’ said Rozilah.

If a company is found guilty and sentenced to jail under Section 17A of the MACC Act 2009, one of its directors or a member of its management team or its company secretary would have to serve the jail term as stipulated by the Companies Act 2016.

If found guilty, Pristine Offshore is liable to a fine of not less than 10 times the amount of the bribe involved, as well as a jail term not exceeding 20 years.

Chew, meanwhile, faced imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine not less than five times of the inducement amount, if found guilty.

Both the company and Chew claimed trial.

Rozilah set bail at RM200,000 and RM150,000 respectively for Pristine Offshore and Chew in one surety each.

Chew also had to surrender his passport to the court.

MACC DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib prosecuted while Pristine Offshore and Chew were represented by defence lawyers Chong Ki Keong and Azim Razak.

Rozilah fixed May 25 for the case to be mentioned.

Incidentally, Chew is also a witness in the graft case against former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

According to news reports, Ahmad Zahid had allegedly received two cheques amounting to RM6mil from Chew who is Datasonic Group Bhd deputy managing director.

Ahmad Zahid had reportedly received the RM6mil as inducement to appoint Datasonic Technologies Sdn Bhd to execute a five-year passport chip project for the Malaysian passport polycarbonate biodata page for the Immigration Department, through direct negotiations with the Home Ministry.

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