Wan Saiful’s trial: Approvals for direct negotiations for Jana Wibawa projects came from PMO, witness tells court

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — Approvals for the Jana Wibawa project, be it through open tender or direct negotiation, were approved by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), said Datin Rosni Mohd Yusoff, a former secretary at the Ministry of Finance (MOF) in charge of the Strategic Management Division.

Rosni was the third witness in today’s trial of former Bersatu Information chief Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan and his money-laundering and corruption charges related to the Jana Wibawa project.

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She said when it came to approvals for the Jana Wibawa project and who decided on direct negotiations, orders would come from the PMO.

She said at the time the project was mooted, there were only 50 projects. In time, she said the list grew bigger and they decided to continue to process applications as long as the prime minister had given his approval to the MOF.

“Direct negotiations are direct awards to the companies,” said Rosni when asked what she meant by direct negotiations.

“It was based on a list of names given by the offices of the finance minister. As for pre-qualified tenders, we had around five to six names from the same office and evaluations were done by officers in my department. These names would then be sent to a committee that vetted contractors so that we could pick the companies that had been approved or passed the evaluation process.

“Once we got this list, we would bring it to the finance minister, and once we got the minister’s approval, the decision would be given to the chief secretary of the Ministry of Works (KKR) for further evaluation,” she told the court today.

Jana Wibawa stands for “Program Jana Ekonomi Pemerkasaan Kontraktor Bumiputera Berwibawa”, which was an initiative implemented by the government under the leadership of former prime minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This project was a continuation of “Program Pembangunan Kontraktor Binaan Bumiputera Berwibawa” which started in 1993.

This programme was also dedicated to the development of Bumiputera/Malay contractors where the members of the board of directors, shareholders and others were 100 per cent Bumiputera.

Meanwhile, the other witnesses were Khusyaini Adhillah Mat Aripin an officer in the Agency Integrity Management Department for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and Muhamad Syakir Zakaria who works in the Investigation Department. Syakir was the arresting officer.

Khusyaini in her written statement said she received the complaint for this case and said it came from sources without disclosing who lodged it.

When questioned by defence counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad as to who lodged the report, she could not answer.

She said she received orders from one of her superiors, Assistant Commissioner Mazery Mohd Zaini, who is the Head of Investigation Department B at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya.

Amer: So you don’t know who lodged the complaint. Where did you get the information from and you wrote this report right? Where and who told you of these sums? So this is a false report then?

Khusyaini: I don’t know, and I disagree with that statement.

Amer: You used words like “membantu” and receiving bribes from Nepturis in your report. I put it to you that this word “membantu” is too general, and also in this report, there is no mention of Wan Saiful. Correct? What does “membantu” mean?

Khusyaini: I do not know. I was just told to lodge the report.

Amer: Since you don’t know any facts in this case, you do not know who is giving the orders, then I suggest to you that this report was lodged with ill intent against Wan Saiful.

Khusyaini: I disagree.

Upon cross examination, Khusyaini told the court that the reason she opened the report was because when a MACC officer feels there are elements of a crime, they can open an investigation paper based on their suspicions. She said in this case, the officers suspected there were elements of bribery.

Syakir, on the other hand, explained to the court that he was the arresting officer who arrested Wan Saiful at the MACC headquarters.

Wan Saiful, 47, allegedly solicited bribes from one Lian Tan Chuan as an inducement to help Nepturis Sdn Bhd secure an RM232 million road project from the government at the pre-qualification stage.

He is also accused of accepting RM6,962,694.54 in cash for himself, through his company WSA Advisory Group Sdn Bhd’s CIMB Bank account, from a Maybank Islamic account belonging to Nepturis, as a reward for helping the company obtain a letter of acceptance for the project.

The two offences were allegedly committed at the Royal Lake Club, Taman Tasik Perdana, here in April 2022, and at the Bukit Tunku branch of CIMB Bank, Taman Tunku, here between July 8 and September 30, 2022.

Wan Saiful was also charged with 18 counts of money laundering involving RM5.59 million, by transferring and using the illegal proceeds to pay for the purchase of a Ford Ranger vehicle, making payments to the National Sports Council, and transferring money to several company accounts, including one belonging to Sinar Karangkraf Sdn Bhd.

The offences were allegedly committed at the Bukit Tunku branch of CIMB Bank here between August 12 and November 13, 2022. The charges were framed under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

The case is being heard before Judge Rozina Ayob and continues tomorrow morning.

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