Sabah forest warden claims trial to charges of bribery over illegal logging

KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah Forestry Department employee has claimed trial to two charges of asking and receiving bribes from a timber company to downplay illegal logging activities by the firm in a report five years ago.

Abidin Jaya pleaded not guilty to the charges before Judge Jason Juga at the Special Corruption Court here on Thursday (June 13).

For the first charge, the 50-year-old was accused of in his role as a Grade 19 forest warden of requesting a RM30,000 bribe from the timber company director at Hotel Venetian in the interior district of Keningau on Sept 14, 2019.

This was in exchange for the accused to lessen the impact of violations over timber activities that were carried out outside permitted logging areas.

As for the second charge, Abidin was accused of receiving a bribe of RM15,000 from a representative of the timber boss at the same day and venue.

This was as inducement for the accused to mitigate the impact report over illegal logging activities.

Both charges were framed under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 which is punishable under Section 24(1) of the same Act.

The accused faces up to 20 years in jail and a fine of not less than five times the value of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher on conviction.

The court allowed the accused RM10,000 bail, with RM2,000 as deposit, and with one surety.

The accused was also required to report to the MACC office in the Sandakan east coast district once every two months.

Prosecuting officer Nur Sabrina Ali prosecuted for the MACC while counsel Noor Ilienna Rahayu Ibrahim appeared for the accused.

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