In a twist of event after months of trial, an ex-general manager of Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) pleaded guilty on Monday (25 March) for accepting S$86,141 pay-off from the director of two building and repair companies, who also pleaded guilty on the same day.

Wong Chee Meng, 59, or also known as Victor, admitted for taking inducements from December 2014 to September 2016 to provide business contracts to Chia Sin Lan’s two companies, 19-ANC Enterprise and 19-NS2 Enterprise.

Wong was an employee of CPG Facilities Management, the managing agent of the town council that serves the Ang Mo Kio public housing estate. He was appointed as AMKTC’s general manager in 2013 and was assigned to handle the town council’s overall operations, where he oversaw and suggested the contractors for works at AMKTC,

On the other hand, Chia’s companies specialises in general building, repairs and redecoration works for town councils, including AMKTC.

 

The pair were first introduced either by Alisa Yip – the operations manager of both firms – or Tay Eng Chuan, a shareholder of 19-NS2 and the prosecution’s important witness during the trial.

It was reported that the bribes received by Wong from Chia included more than S$34,000 worth of entertainment expenses at various KTV lounges, massage parlours and restaurants. He also accepted financial assistance in the form of a S$13,500 discount on a Toyota Corolla Altis that he bought as well as remittances made to Xu Hongmei, his mistress from China.

Both men are found guilty to three changes each under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Two more charges – include salaries paid to Wong’s daughter-in-law by 19-ANC and the M1 mobile phone and line Wong used to talk to his mistress – will be considered for sentencing on Friday.

For each charge, the penalty is a maximum jail term of seven years and/or a fine of up to S$100,000. The jail term is two years more than the highest possible for a regular corruption charge because the transaction involved a public entity.

The pay-off

At the end of 2014, Wong informed Ms Yip of his interest in buying a new car and she told him that 19-ANC was looking for a buyer for its 16-month-old Toyota Corolla Altis. The estimated price of the car was S$85,000 and Wong asked for a discount due to the high mileage of the car. As such, Chia agreed to sell the car to Wong for S$75,000.

As part of the deal, 19-NS2 also agreed to purchase Wong’s old car for S$20,000 before trading it in for S$16,500 in order to get hold of the new Toyota Corolla Altis. This means that Wong received a total gratification of S$13,500.

As for the remittances for Wong’s mistress, it is revealed that in June 2018, Xu Hongmei asked Wong for 100,000 renminbi (approximately S$20,000) for renovation works in her house in China. When this was told to Chia, he along with Tay agreed to send 80,000 renminbi (S$16,000) to Xu.

If that is not all, in the same year, Xu told Wong that she was a victim of an investment scam and had been cheated 50,000 renminbi, in which Chia willingly gave her the same amount.

Wong and Chia also frequently visited KTV lounges, restaurants and massage spas and a hotel 29 times between May 2015 and July 2016. In these visits, Wong received kickbacks of S$34,070.

Wong favoured Chia’s companies and granted more projects

In exchange for kickbacks received by Wong, it appeared that AMKTC signed more deals with both of Chia’s companies in 2015, compared with 2014. Wong admitted that he influenced his staff from the contract department to include 19-ANC in the list of contractors selected to present quotes.

In an event, a tender was released in August 2015 for repair and redecoration works to 11 Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats in Teck Ghee. However, Wong found out that the highest bidder had been issued with a stop-work order by another town council. He immediately highlighted this issue in the meeting and recommended that 19-NS2, the second-lowest bidder, be given the tender.

Besides that, in August 2016, AMKTC also announced a tender for a term contract for the design, supply and delivery of low emission incense burners. Although 19-ANC was the fourth-lowest bidder, Wong told his staffs to study on eco-friendly features of the burners that they had to assess because he knows that 19-ANC was the most eco-friendly among other bidders.

AMKTC is in-charged of overseeing the residential estates in Ang Mo Kio GRC group representation constituency. Although its chairman is Ang Hin Kee, but Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself is a town councillor of this particular group representation constituency. Other MPs who are part of AMKTC include Gan Thiam Poh, Intan Azura Mokhtar, Koh Poh Koon, Lam Pin Min and Darryl David.

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