BUTTERWORTH: Six Road Transport Department (JPJ) enforcement officers, including a woman, were charged in the Sessions Court here today with 40 counts of accepting bribes, totalling RM20,050, in connection with the lorry driver protection racket in Penang.
They also faced 40 alternative charges, where in their capacity as public servants, they have obtained valuable things without any consideration from a person whom they knew had connection with their official functions.
The JPJ officers, who are low ranking officers between Grade 19 and Grade 32, comprised five enforcement assistants, namely Muhammad Rozaidi Azmi, 36; Khairol Azri Abd Rahman, 32; Mohd Ependi Hassan, 33; Mohamad Noor Ibrahim, 44, and V. Chandrasegeran, 49; while the woman, Saidatul Hanim Sabudin, 33, is an assistant enforcement officer.
Muhammad Rozaidi faced 10 charges involving bribes worth RM7,100; Khairol Azri with eight charges involving RM4,350; Mohd Ependi and Mohamad Noor with six charges each involving RM850 and RM4,200, respectively, Chandrasegeran with one charge involving RM1,200 and Saidatul Hanim, with nine charges involving RM2,350.
All of them pleaded not guilty to all the main and alternative charges which were read out separately to them before judge Nizam Zakaria.
For the main charges, they were alleged to have corruptly received for themselves cash from one Ooi Cheng Keat, 46, who is a director of two transport companies — Sam Lian Transport & Tyre Sdn Bhd and TSR Transport Sdn Bhd — as an inducement for them to not take action against lorries belonging to his companies for offences under the Road Transport Act 1987.
The offences were allegedly committed at several banks in Bukit Mertajam between March 2015 and July 2018.
The charges were framed under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act and punishable under Section 24 of the same law, which provides an imprisonment for up to 20 years and fine of not less than five times the amount of the bribes, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty.
For the alternative charges, they were charged under Section 165 of the Penal Code with obtaining the valuable from Ong, in their capacity as public servants, without consideration from a person whom they knew had connection with their official duties.
They face imprisonment for up to two years, or a fine, or both, if found guilty.
The prosecution, conducted by deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Azlan Basri offered the accused bail of between RM15,000 and RM20,000 for all charges and also requested the court to order them to surrender their passports.
Nizam set bail of between RM8,000 and RM10,000 in one surety on each of the accused and also ordered them to surrender their passports to the court. She fixed Sept 12 for mention.
Lawyer Datuk Naran Singh represented the RTD officers, except Chandrasegeran, who was unrepresented. — Bernama