SINGAPORE: The mistress of a former town council general manager accused of receiving bribes had paid for her own agent fees to work in Singapore, the defence claimed on Friday (Nov 16).
This is in contrast to what the prosecution had argued on Tuesday. Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue had shown the court a photo of a remittance slip of 3,000 yuan (S$596) to an agent.
The photo was purportedly sent in June 2016 by Chia Sin Lan, the company director accused of bribing former Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) general manager Victor Wong Chee Meng, to Chia's subcontractor Tay Eng Chuan.
Mr Tay had shares in Chia's company 19-NS2 Enterprise and worked for Chia. He helped Chia in finance-related matters, among other things, and kept records of the company's cash inflows and outflows in a handwritten ledger.
According to Mr Tay, the prosecution's prime witness, this money was meant for an agent to deal with Wong's China mistress Xu Hongmei.
"You were asked if you claimed this amount from Chia. You said not as far as you know," defence lawyer Melanie Ho, who acts for Wong, told Mr Tay.
"Was this 3,000 yuan anywhere in the handwritten ledger?" She asked.
"In my impression, no," Mr Tay answered through a Mandarin interpreter.
Ms Ho then told the court Wong's position - that Chia's China supplier David Gan, who was also Ms Xu's friend, was trying to help Ms Xu work in Singapore.
"David Gan was communicating with Mr Chia on this issue," said Ms Ho. "In the end, Ms Xu Hongmei herself found her own agent, paid her own agent fees and came into Singapore to work."
Ms Ho also said that Wong paid for a trip to a karaoke lounge, as he had invited several people as a treat.
Mr Tay said he did not see Wong making payment.
Wong is accused of receiving about S$107,000 in gratification from Chia between December 2014 and September 2016 in return for contracts awarded to 19-NS2 and Chia's other company 19-ANC Enterprise.
About half of this was in the form of entertainment expenses incurred by Wong and Chia at various karaoke lounges and massage parlours, which the two frequented regularly at night.
Ms Ho also said that a car belonging to 19-ANC was sold to Wong at a "fair price", without going into further details. The prosecution charges that the car was sold at a S$13,500 discount and was a form of gratification.
CHIA'S LAWYER ASKS WITNESS ABOUT QUESTIONABLE PAYMENTS
After Ms Ho completed her cross-examination of Mr Tay, Chia's defence lawyer Michael Loh took his turn.
He questioned Mr Tay about his knowledge of the shareholdings of 19-NS2, the relationship between 19-NS2 and 19-ANC, who worked at those companies, as well as his own shares at 19-NS2.
It was revealed that Mr Tay, at one point, held about 40 per cent of the shares in 19-NS2, which Mr Loh said meant that Mr Tay was a significant shareholder, second only to Chia.
Mr Tay agreed.
Mr Loh then asked him why he did not ask about payments that he had found questionable and which he had recorded in the ledger with circles or question marks, given that 40 cents of every dollar spent by 19-NS2 was his.
Mr Tay said he did ask someone else about it, but did not press further as he felt there was "no meaning" if he said anything.
The trial resumes on Monday.