Town council ex-GM's graft trial

Defence lawyer: GM paid for KTV session

Wong Chee Meng, 58, "covered" the KTV session as one of the business partners had paid for dinner, said his lawyer.
Wong Chee Meng, 58, "covered" the KTV session as one of the business partners had paid for dinner, said his lawyer.PHOTO: ST FILE

A former town council general manager accused of bribery had invited a group of business partners out for a karaoke session after a Chinese New Year dinner in 2015 and paid for it, his lawyer said in the State Courts yesterday.

Wong Chee Meng, 58, "covered" the KTV session as one of the partners had paid for dinner, Ms Melanie Ho added, as she sought to show how Wong and his business contacts took turns to foot the bill, and even carpooled together.

But prosecution witness Tay Eng Chuan said he did not see Wong pay and was not sure if he did.

Mr Tay is the business partner of company director Chia Sin Lan, 63, who is on trial together with Wong, the former general manager of Ang Mo Kio Town Council.

Both men face 54 charges each, involving more than $107,000 in bribes Chia allegedly gave Wong over almost two years.

These were made to advance the business interests of Chia's companies - 19-ANC Enterprise and 19-NS2 Enterprise, the prosecution has charged.

Yesterday, on the 11th day of the hearing, Ms Ho put it to Mr Tay that a car registered to 19-ANC was sold to Wong at a "fair price" in late 2014.

 
 
 
 

The prosecution has charged that Wong received a discount of $13,500 on the Toyota Corolla Altis - one of the bribery charges.

Mr Tay said earlier this week he felt there was a gap between the car's selling price and its market value, and was worried there was a conflict of interest owing to Wong's position in the town council.

He told 19-ANC project director, Ms Alisa Yip, who was driving the car and who asked him for a gauge on the Altis' value, to "be careful".

Ms Ho asked Mr Tay: "If Alisa wanted to sell (the car) at some low value price, then why would she bother to ask you?"

Mr Tay said he was unable to answer this.

Yesterday, Chia's lawyer Michael Loh also asked Mr Tay, a former shareholder of 19-NS2, why a cash account had to be maintained, with records kept in a handwritten ledger, since the firm had $500,000 in paid-up capital.

Mr Tay said the ledger, which allegedly recorded various expenses on Wong, was Chia's idea.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2018, with the headline 'Defence lawyer: GM paid for KTV session'. Print Edition | Subscribe