Wan Saiful: I’ll prove my innocence

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan remains confident that he will be able to prove his innocence after claiming trial to two charges of corruption linked to the Jana Wibawa programme.

“We will prove (my innocence) through the court process. I have full confidence that our courts are fair,” the Bersatu information chief said at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex.

The Tasek Gelugor MP claimed trial to two charges of corruption involving some RM6.9mil.

“I plead not guilty and claim trial,” he said after the charges were read out before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi.

On the first charge, Wan Saiful, 48, allegedly solicited for himself a bribe from an individual as an inducement for him to assist Nepturis Sdn Bhd to obtain a project called “Central Spine Road: Sertik Ke Persimpangan Lebuhraya Pantai Timur (CH 0-CH 8050) from the government through a pre-qualification whereby the total amount is valued at RM232,000,000.

He allegedly committed the offence at the Royal Lake Club sometime in April last year.

On the second charge, Wan Saiful allegedly received for himself a bribe of RM6,962,694.54 through a CIMB account belonging to his company, WSA Advisory Group Sdn Bhd, from the Maybank account of Nepturis Sdn Bhd.

The money was allegedly an inducement for Wan Saiful to assist Nepturis in obtaining an acceptance letter for the Central Spine Road project.

The charges were framed under Section 16a(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

Defiant in court: Wan Saiful leaving after pleading not guilty at the Kuala Lumpur Court complex.  — AZHAR MAHFOF/The StarDefiant in court: Wan Saiful leaving after pleading not guilty at the Kuala Lumpur Court complex. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

“The process has been completed for today. I am thankful for the strong team of lawyers and hopefully, I will be able to prove the charges against me are uncalled for,” Wan Saiful said at the court complex lobby later.

He claimed he had been charged in court to divert attention away from the government’s “failure” in coming up with ideas to solve the people’s problem such as the rising cost of living.

“When they failed, they tried to cover by putting up a non-existent case,” he said, adding that he had extended his full cooperation to the MACC during the investigation.

If convicted, Wan Saiful faces a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin offered bail at between RM500,000 and RM1mil on grounds that the accused had been charged with a serious offence.

He, however, said that Wan Saiful was not a flight risk and had given his cooperation to the MACC during the investigation.

“I ask the court to impose additional conditions for bail purposes.

“The accused should surrender his passport to the court and report himself to the MACC office each month,” the prosecutor said.

Wan Saiful’s lawyer, Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, asked for a lower bail amount of between RM200,000 and RM300,000.

He pointed out that the prosecution itself had considered the accused to be a non-flight risk person and had cooperated with the MACC.

“Both his bank accounts have been frozen. His wife is unwell and undergoing chemotherapy. As such, money is required for this purpose,” Hisyam said.

Hisyam also requested the court to allow his client to report himself to the MACC office once every two months instead of once a month.

Azura fixed bail at RM400,000 in one surety.

She also ordered Wan Saiful to surrender his passport to the court and allowed him to report himself to the MACC office once every two months.

The case has been fixed for mention on March 22.

Jana Wibawa was an initiative by the Finance Ministry to help bumiputra contractors at the height of Covid-19 pandemic, under the administration of former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Recently, it was reported that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government was postponing rural development projects worth RM5.7bil under Jana Wibawa.

The purpose is to allow a review to determine whether the projects were awarded in accordance with the procurement process and governance requirements set by the Treasury.

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