AMKTC trial: Director entertained former town council GM with my debit card, says witness

AMKTC trial: Director entertained former town council GM with my debit card, says witness

Ang Mo Kio town council GM Wong Chee Meng
Former Ang Mo Kio Town Council general manager Wong Chee Meng faces 55 counts of corruption. (Photo: Raj Nadarajan/TODAY)

SINGAPORE: A company director used a business associate’s debit card when taking a former town council general manager out for entertainment.

Chia Sin Lan had asked his associate, Mr Tay Eng Chuan, to apply for the card for him so that Chia’s family would not find out about his mistress and girlfriend.

Mr Tay revealed this to a district court on Friday (Nov 9), while refuting Chia’s previous statement that the funds for the entertainment were from the sale of scrap metal.

Also, Chia did not use the card for his mistress and girlfriend as he had told Mr Tay, but instead used it for expenses incurred when he took former Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) general manager Victor Wong Chee Meng out.

Whenever Chia took Wong out to karaoke lounges and nightclubs, paid for meals or other such entertainment, he would use the debit card and charge it to Tay Eng Khuan General Contractors, which was one of Mr Tay's companies.

Mr Tay was the subcontractor for Chia's company 19-NS2 Enterprise, which performed repair and redecoration works for AMKTC.

Chia faces 54 corruption charges for allegedly providing a "steady stream" of some S$107,000 in gratification to Wong in return for contracts with the town council.

Mr Tay told the court on his third day on the stand that instead of reimbursing him, Chia instructed him to claim the funds used to entertain Wong from the proceeds of another project.

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This project was for works in Ghim Moh, performed by Mr Tay’s company, Tay Eng Khuan General Contractors.

Mr Tay explained to the court that Chia had helped him acquire this project, as he knew the boss formerly in charge of it.

In return for Chia's help, Mr Tay agreed to split the profits 50-50 from the Ghim Moh project.

Prompted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue, Mr Tay said he did not know at first that the "entertainment" was for Wong and not Chia's mistress or girlfriend.

Mr Tay first realised when his assistant did up the accounts and he went to claim money from Chia. Chia told him the expenses were for Wong.

"I asked - eh, why is it like that, and he just looked at me, with no reaction," said Mr Tay.

READ: Director told me to keep receipts for karaoke lounge visits vague, says witness

"Did he pay you for the expenses?" asked the prosecutor.

"No. He just asked me to deduct from Ghim Moh (project)," answered Mr Tay.

The prosecutor pointed to Chia's previous statement to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

In his statement, Chia said he used a credit card issued by Mr Tay to make payment when he brought Wong out for entertainment. He said Mr Tay would then make payment to the bank with the money he and Mr Tay got from selling scrap metal.

Asked if this was correct, Mr Tay said: "That is incorrect."

The trial continues on Monday.

Source: CNA/aa(hm)