By Timothy Achariam | The Edge Malaysia
Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who is the current Tasek Gelugor Member of Parliament, has filed an application to the Sessions Court to strike out graft charges totalling RM7 million against him involving the Jana Wibawa initiative on the grounds that they are defective.
The notice of motion was filed through his lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad.
At a case management before Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob on Wednesday (May 31), she set June 27 for the hearing of the striking out application after being informed by Amer Hamzah of the notice.
The prosecution represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Afif Ali informed the judge that it would need to file its reply to the application. Rozina then set June 9 for the reply to be filed and June 13 for any other replies to be filed before the hearing on the striking out application begins.
Together with the motion, Wan Saiful also filed an affidavit giving his reasons as to why the charges should be struck out.
He said that the charges did not state the specific date and time of his alleged offences. He also claimed that the charges do not have specific details to give notice of the wrongdoings he’s alleged to have committed.
“The charges don’t reveal any wrongdoing of bribery under section 16 (a)(A) of the MACC Act. This is because ‘helping’ to obtain projects isn’t a wrongdoing,” he said.
Wan Saiful is charged under section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 with soliciting bribes from Nepturis Sdn Bhd to facilitate its pre-approval as a contractor by the government in April 2022 for a Central Spine Road project worth RM232 million.
Wan Saiful is charged with having solicited an unspecified amount for the aforementioned RM232 million project from one Lian Tan Chuan.
On the second charge, he is charged under section 17(a) of the MACC Act with receiving RM6.96 million through his company’s CIMB Bank account under WSA Advisory Group Sdn Bhd from Nepturis.
The charges were read out to him and stated that he committed the offences between July 8 and Sept 30 in 2022.
Both charges under the MACC Act are punishable under section 24 of the Act, and carry a sentence of up to 20 years in jail and a fine of not less than five times the amount of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
In the affidavit, Wan Saiful said that if he has breached section 16 of the MACC Act just by “helping” Nepturis secure the contract from the government (which he is denying in the case), then all workers such as clerks, executive officers, company directors, and government officials have also committed wrongdoing because they were involved in the project.
He also denies he had any position in government to help make or influence decisions in relation to giving government projects to private corporations.
“My lawyers have advised me that this is important for me to put an effective defence, including the defence of alibi,” said the former Bersatu information chief.
He said that upon the advice of his lawyers, the trial could be deemed as a nullity should it proceed and this would result in a waste of time and resources for all parties.
After the case management, Amer Hamzah, speaking to the press, said they had also raised an issue before the court about the length of time the prosecution had taken to serve them documents under section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
“It has now been months since my client has been charged and we are astounded that the prosecution has taken much time in providing the defence with a complete set of the documents that are going to be used at trial,” he said.
“If a proper and thorough investigation had been carried out, the prosecution and the related enforcement agency should already have all the documents ready. They should be able to serve all the documents immediately. We can only conclude that this prosecution was not premised upon a complete investigation,” he added.
Amer Hamzah also said the striking out application made before the court was only done because they had informed the prosecution that the charges were defective but received no reply from the prosecution.
“Unfortunately, as of yesterday, we have not received any response from the prosecution on the said issue. As such we have no choice but to file this application seeking the dismissal of the charges,” he said.
He asserted that the charges against Wan Saiful are defective because they do not fulfil the requirements under the law.
He said that not citing the specific date and time the offence was carried out “casts doubt” on the allegations against his client and severely prejudice his constitutional right to a fair trial.