Town council ex-GM's graft trial

Associate says his card used to pay for entertainment

Chia Sin Lan
Chia Sin Lan
Wong Chee Meng
Wong Chee Meng

Expenses on debit card could be up to a few thousand dollars a month, court heard

A company director being tried for bribery got his business partner to apply for a debit card, which he used to pay for dinners and karaoke sessions when entertaining a town council's former general manager.

The debit card used by Chia Sin Lan, 63, was registered to a company called Tay Eng Khuan General Contractors that was owned by Mr Tay Eng Chuan, his business partner, the court heard on the sixth day of a graft trial.

Taking the stand yesterday, Mr Tay said Chia initially told him to apply for the card because he had a mistress and a girlfriend, and did not want his family or his own company, 19-ANC Enterprise, to know of certain expenses.

But Chia later said he was using the card to entertain Wong Chee Meng, 58, the former general manager of Ang Mo Kio Town Council, Mr Tay added.

Both Chia and Wong, who is also known as Victor, are on trial for bribery amounting to more than $107,000, which Chia allegedly gave to Wong over a period of almost two years, up to 2016.

This was allegedly given in exchange for advancing the business interests of Chia's firms, 19-ANC and 19-NS2 Enterprise, which did work such as repairs and re-decorations for town councils.

Mr Tay told the State Courts yesterday that on receiving his company's bank statement, he would get his staff to tabulate the debit card expenses and he would claim the amounts from Chia.

Both Chia Sin Lan and Wong Chee Meng are on trial for bribery amounting to more than $107,000, which Chia allegedly gave to Wong over a period of almost two years, up to 2016.

He said Chia would tell him to deduct the money from an account for a project in Ghim Moh, the record of which was maintained by both men.

Mr Tay did not give details of the Ghim Moh project, but said Chia had recommended him to take over the works from another contractor. He added that, in return for the favour, he would split any profits equally with Chia.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue asked him for his response when Chia told him the debit card expenses were for entertaining Wong.

"At the beginning, he said he wanted it (the card) for his own entertainment and expenses and, when the bill came, he told me it was for Victor. I asked him why... and he didn't give me a reply," said Mr Tay, who spoke in Mandarin through a translator.

During yesterday's hearing, DPP Jiang took Mr Tay through his company's bank statements from July 2015 to July 2016.

The court heard that the debit card expenses - which could be up to a few thousand dollars a month - were made at establishments such as Super Star KTV and Great Shanghai. One receipt from a spa also indicated "Victor Wong Chee Meng" as the customer, Mr Tay told the court.

The trial will resume on Monday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2018, with the headline 'Associate says his card used to pay for entertainment '. Print Edition | Subscribe