Town council ex-GM's graft trial

Director wanted to destroy KTV receipts, court told

Chia Sin Lan (left) and Ang Mo Kio Town Council's former general manager Wong Chee Meng are being tried for bribes totalling more than $107,000, which Chia allegedly gave Wong for almost two years.
Chia Sin Lan (above) and Ang Mo Kio Town Council's former general manager Wong Chee Meng are being tried for bribes totalling more than $107,000, which Chia allegedly gave Wong for almost two years.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Chia Sin Lan (left) and Ang Mo Kio Town Council's former general manager Wong Chee Meng are being tried for bribes totalling more than $107,000, which Chia allegedly gave Wong for almost two years.
Chia Sin Lan -and Ang Mo Kio Town Council's former general manager Wong Chee Meng (above) are being tried for bribes totalling more than $107,000, which Chia allegedly gave Wong for almost two years.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Business partner says expense records were kept vague

A company director on trial for alleged bribery had told his business partner not to keep receipts of the drinking and karaoke sessions that he took a town council's former general manager to.

Chia Sin Lan, 63, also gave instructions to keep the remarks in a handwritten ledger of these expenses vague so the authorities would not be able to find out easily about them, Mr Tay Eng Chuan, his partner, said in court yesterday.

An entry on May 18, 2015 for $3,700, for example, would have the letters "F" and "V". Mr Tay said "F" indicated flower garlands, or sashes, bought as tips for KTV singers, while "V" stood for Victor, or Wong Chee Meng, the former general manager of Ang Mo Kio Town Council.

Both Chia and Wong, 58, are being tried for bribes totalling more than $107,000, which Chia allegedly gave Wong for almost two years. This was in exchange for advancing business interests of Chia's firms - 19-ANC Enterprise and 19-NS2 Enterprise - which did work for town councils, such as repairs and redecoration.

On the first day of the trial's second tranche in the State Courts, Mr Tay, a former director of 19-NS2, took the stand and was questioned about his relationship with Chia.

He said he and Chia jointly maintained and signed off on a handwritten record summarising 19-NS2's incoming funds and expenditure. Mr Tay said Chia would claim for expenses by showing him bills for drinks and the "hanging of flowers".

Deputy Senior State Counsel Jiang Ke-Yue asked where these receipts were kept. Mr Tay said most of these were lost and Chia told him to "destroy" them.

 
 

The court also heard of Chinese New Year dinners Mr Tay attended with Chia, Wong and other business associates on two occasions in 2015 and 2016. Mr Tay said he met Wong's mistress Xu Hongmei at the 2015 outing. Among the 54 charges brought against Wong, three involve overseas remittances amounting to $30,600, which Chia allegedly gave to Ms Xu, who is from China.

Mr Tay said Wong first referred to Ms Xu as his "distant relative", but at a KTV session, he noticed Wong would "hug, kiss and touch her" in front of others.

He also said the hostesses at Super Star KTV in Newton were very friendly towards Wong and greeted him as "Huang Zhong", meaning "Wong, the general manager". As a result, he said, he felt it was not Wong's first time at the KTV lounge.

A year later, Mr Tay said, the hostesses at the same KTV lounge were also friendly with Chia, calling him "Xie Dong", meaning "Chia, the director". "I thought they patronised this place regularly," he said.

Public prosecutors yesterday withdrew one charge each from Chia and Wong. This was for a hotel stay at Fragrance Hotel worth around $35, which Chia allegedly paid for Wong. Like Wong, Chia faces 54 charges.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2018, with the headline 'Director wanted to destroy KTV receipts, court told '. Print Edition | Subscribe