Lorry protection racket: Nine slapped with 164 counts of corruption

28 May 2019 / 18:33 H.

BUTTERWORTH: Eight Penang Road Transport Department (RTD) enforcement officers and a former Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) personnel were charged at the Sessions Court here today with 164 counts of receiving bribes amounting to RM135,810, between January 2015 and August 2018.

They were alleged to have received the bribes from a transport company director as an inducement not to take action against the company’s errant lorry drivers who committed traffic violations in the state.

All of them were also facing 164 alternative charges of acquiring valuable item from the company’s director to protect the lorry drivers.

Eight Penang RTD enforcement officers were motor vehicle inspector Mohammed Shukri Ishak, 36; enforcement assistant Muhammad Firdaus Jaafar, 46; motor vehicle inspector Khairol Naim Mat Desa, 34; enforcement assistant M. Muniandy, 45; motor vehicle inspector Noorzaimi Effendi Salleh, 36; enforcement assistant Mohd Fairdaus Ishak, 35.

Also charged were enforcement assistant Katimi Azmi, 35; enforcement assistant Pirdaus Abd Karim, 34; and former northern region SPAD enforcement assistant Mohd Noor Fadzny Noordin, 32.

At today’s proceedings Muhamad Shukri was slapped with 16 main and alternative charges involving RM24,000; Muhamad Firdaus ((33 main and alternative charges involving RM10,950); Khairul Naim (13 main and alternative charges involving RM24,000) and Muniandy faced 15 main and alternative charges involving RM10,150.

Norzaimi was also slapped with 18 main and alternative charges involving RM23,550; Mohd Fairdaus (15 main and alternative charges involving RM4,210); Katimi (11 main and alternative charges involving RM16,600); Pirdaus (13 main and alternative charges involving RM8,600) and Mohd Noor Fadzny faced 30 main and alternative charges involving RM13,650.

All of them pleaded not guilty to all main and alternative charges after the charges were read to them separately before Judge Nizam Zakaria which took about four hours.

According to the main charges, all accused were alleged to have received bribes from Sam Lian Transport & Tire Sdn Bhd and TSR Transport Sdn Bhd’s director Ooi Cheng Keat, 46, as an inducement not to take action against lorries owned by both companies, and by doing so, the companies may have committed offences under the Road Transport Act 1987.

The accused were alleged to have committed the offences at several banks in Bukit Mertajam here between January 2015 and August 2018.

All the charges were framed under Section 16 (a) (B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 and punishable under Section 24 of the same Act, which carries a jail term of not exceeding 20 years or a fine of not less than five times the amount of the bribe, upon conviction.

For the alternative charges, all accused were alleged to have acquired for themselves valuable item from Ooi to protect the lorry drivers and they were charged under Section 165 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum jail sentence of two years or a fine or both, if convicted.

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor S. Selvaranjini offered the accused a bail of RM20,000 in one surety each for all charges as well as to surrender their passports to the court.

The court then allowed all accused bails between RM11,000 and RM20,000 in one surety as well as the accused were ordered to surrender their passports to the court and fixed July 2 for mention.

The media previously reported that the Penang RTD enforcement officers were arrested by the MACC as they were believed to have received monthly payments between RM10,000 and RM32,000 as an inducement not take action against the errant lorry drivers involved as well as to leak the department’s operational information. — Bernama

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