Graft case: Ex-GM of town council claims trial

Man who allegedly took bribes totalling $107k plans to contest all charges

The corruption case involving Ang Mo Kio Town Council's former general manager will go to trial, after he pleaded not guilty yesterday.

Wong Chee Meng, 58, also known as Victor Wong, faces 55 counts of corruptly accepting gratification from Chia Sin Lan, director of companies 19-ANC Enterprise and 19-NS2 Enterprise, and Ms Yip Fong Yin, director of 19-NS2.

Wong was general manager and secretary of the Ang Mo Kio Town Council at the time the acts were allegedly committed.

The Straits Times understands that Wong plans to contest all the charges. Chia also pleaded not guilty yesterday. Chia and Wong are currently out on bail of $100,000 each. A pre-trial conference has been set for May 3.

Wong allegedly took bribes amounting to $107,000 from Chia and Ms Yip, in exchange for advancing the business interests of the companies with the town council, court documents show.

The alleged bribes include:

  • Remittances to Wong's mistress in China worth $30,600;
  • Restaurant bills worth $5,000;
  • A $13,500 discount on a Toyota Corolla Altis that Wong bought;
  • A spa treatment in Geylang that cost around $1,070;
  • Stays at budget hotels Fragrance Hotel and Hotel 81, which cost about $35 and $30 respectively;
  • Entertainment expenses of more than $40,000 at various KTV lounges and nightclubs;
  • A job for Wong's daughter-in-law Le Thi Hien at the firm 4-Ever Engineering. Chia's company 19-ANC Enterprise paid $8,247.67 towards her salary between March and August 2016;
  • Charges amounting to $2,527.76 for Wong's use of an M1 mobile phone line.

The alleged offences took place between December 2014 and September 2016.

Chia, 62, is accused of 54 counts of giving bribes to Wong. He also faces one count of abetment for allegedly conspiring with Ms Yip to bribe Wong by making arrangements for Wong to receive the $13,500 car purchase discount.

Chia's two companies face one charge each of corruption for conspiring to bribe Wong to advance their business interests with the town council.

According to the Building and Construction Authority's directory, both businesses are licensed builders and registered to carry out repair and redecoration works.

As general manager, Wong was the most senior executive in the town council.

His employer was CPG Facilities Management, the town council's managing agent. He was removed from duty after the town council received a complaint about him in September 2016 over the way he handled contracts and dealings in the town council.

He was later investigated by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, and charges were brought last month.

The town council appointed a new general manager, Mr Ang Boon Peng, last April.

If convicted, Wong and Chia could be fined up to $100,000 and jailed for a maximum of seven years on each charge. The companies could each face a fine of up to $100,000 under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2018, with the headline 'Graft case: Ex-GM of town council claims trial'. Print Edition | Subscribe