By V. Anbalagan | Free Malaysia Today

Former Bersatu information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan is accused of accepting a RM6.9 million bribe and soliciting another unspecified amount in relation to the Jana Wibawa initiative.

Tasek Gelugor MP Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who is charged with soliciting and accepting bribes in relation to the Jana Wibawa initiative, has filed an application to strike out the charges on grounds that they are defective.

Wan Saiful, who filed a notice of motion in the Sessions Court on Monday, said he is entitled to an acquittal should the charges be struck down.

Judge Rozina Ayob has now fixed June 27 to hear the application, said defence lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad following case management this afternoon.

She also directed the prosecution to file an affidavit in reply to Wan Saiful’s application by June 9.

On Feb 21, Wan Saiful claimed trial to accepting a bribe of close to RM7 million.

He was also charged with soliciting an unspecified amount for a road project worth RM232 million linked to the Jana Wibawa programme.

He is alleged to have accepted RM6.9 million through a CIMB bank account belonging to his company, WSA Advisory Group Sdn Bhd, from a Maybank account held by Nepturis Sdn Bhd.

He is also alleged to have solicited an unspecified amount from Lian Tan Chuan at the Royal Lake Club here in April last year to help the company secure the RM232 million central spine road project from the federal government.

Both charges are said to have been committed between July and September last year in a bid by the company to secure a letter of acceptance for the project.

Wan Saiful faces up to 20 years’ jail and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if convicted of each offence.

In his affidavit in support of the motion, the former Bersatu information chief said the charges framed did not comply with provisions in the Criminal Procedure Code as the exact date and time of the offences were not stated.

“My lawyers have advised me that this is important for me to put an effective defence, including the defence of alibi,” he said.

Further, he said, the charges lacked details about how he committed the alleged offences.

“The charges do not disclose any offence as helping to secure a project is not a crime under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act,” he said.

Moreover, he said, he did not hold any public position in the government administration to enable him to influence the award of government projects to the private sector.

Wan Saiful also said that if the case proceeded, his reputation will be tarnished. He will also have to spend a lot of time in court and will incur substantial expenditure to defend the case, especially to engage lawyers.

“I have been advised by my lawyers that the defective charges could result in the trial being a nullity should the case proceed,” he said, adding this would be a waste of time and resources for all parties.

The Jana Wibawa programme was a COVID-19 stimulus initiative to help Bumiputera contractors.

It has been mired in controversy after Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said the costs for some projects were too high. He said the projects had been approved without going through a tender process.

The stimulus package was carried out when Muhyiddin Yassin was the Prime Minister.