Vietnamese woman claims trial to RM800k bribery charge

KUANTAN: A Vietnamese woman today pleaded not guilty in the sessions court here to offering a RM800,000 bribe to two Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) officers last Sunday.

Tran Thi Mai, 41, entered the plea before Judge Dazuki Ali after the charge was read out to her in Bahasa Melayu, as the accused claimed she was well-versed in the language having lived in the country for 17 years.

The mother of four allegedly offered the bribe to a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer who was disguised as a middleman, to hand over the money to Captain Nurul Hizam Zakaria and Captain Amran Daud, at 9.40am on Nov 5.

The offence was committed at a hotel and the bribe was an inducement to release nine Vietnamese fishing boats detained under the Fisheries Act 1985.

Tran is charged under Section 16 (b) of the MACC Act 2009, and if convicted may face a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the amount of bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

Earlier, MACC deputy public prosecutor, Mohamad Fadhly Mohd Zamry urged the court to deny bail as the accused is a non-citizen and not a permanent resident.

"However, should bail be granted the amount should take into account the amount of bribe involved which is RM800,000 and bail be set at RM1 million with additional condition that her passport be surrendered to the court," he said.

Counsel for the accused, G. K. Sritharan, appealed that bail be allowed as his client, who lives in Bukit Sekilau here, would not abscond as she has bought a property under the 'Malaysia My Second Home' programme.

"As an agent, the accused earns a monthly income of between RM4,000 and RM5,000 and I understand that her account has been frozen and she will not be able to pay a RM1 million bail," he said.

Dazuki then set bail at RM100,000 with two sureties who must be Malaysian citizens and ordered the accused to surrender her passport to the court and report to the Kuantan District Police Headquarters once a month.

The court set Dec 11 for re-mention. — Bernama