SHAH ALAM, March 17 (Bernama) -- The Sessions Court here today acquitted and discharged three individuals charged with cheating in the construction of the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project without calling for their defence.
They are former Kuala Dimensi project manager Law Jenn Dong, 59, architect Bernard Tan Swee Seng, 56, BTA Architect, and Kuala Dimensi chief operating officer Stephen Abok, 59.
Judge Asmadi Hussin ordered the three men to be freed after finding that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against them. A total of 31 witnesses were called to testify throughout the hearing.
Deputy public prosecutors Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud, Muhammad Anas Mahadzir and Noor Zalizan Lazarous prosecuted in the case.
Lawyers Datuk Tan Hock Chuan, Hisham Teh Poh Teik and Datuk V. Sithambaram represented Law, Tan and Abok, respectively. When handing down the judgment, Asmadi said what had been established by the prosecution was that Law, Abok and Tan had signed the notice of payment for claims on electrical infrastructural work for the PKFZ project.
However, he said, the prosecution failed to provide evidence on the 33KV electrical system facility that was not done by KDSB when the notice of payment was sent to the Klang Port Authority (PKA) and OSK Trustees Bhd (OSK Trustees).
"The prosecution cannot rely on the facts that TNB (Tenaga Nasional Bhd) did not allow KDSB to carry out work on the 33KV electrical system as proof that KDSB did not do the job, but claimed for it.
"The evidence before the court shows that a large portion of the infrastructure works for the 33KV system was completed and KDSB, with the assistance of PKA, until 2009, was still begging to be allowed to do the 33KV electrical system on turnkey," he added.
Unfortunately, he said, efforts by KDSB and PKA were hampered when PKA filed a civil suit against KDSB and BTA Architect.
"As such, after studying all the evidence and testimony of the witnesses, and their credibility, as well as exhibits that were produced in court, the court finds that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against all the accused.
"Therefore, the three accused are acquitted and discharged without calling for their defence on the main charge and alternative charges," he said.
Law, Tan and Abok had pleaded not guilty on Nov 8, 2010, to 24 counts of cheating OSK Trustees Bhd for payment of RM116.85 million to Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) for two projects at PKFZ.
The offences were allegedly committed at OSK Trustees Bhd, Plaza OSK, Ampang, between June 30, 2006 and June 20, 2008.
Abok and Tan also pleaded not guilty to two other alternative charges with cheating OSK Trustees by dishonestly inducing OSK Trustees into paying RM5.42 million to KDSB between July 31, 2007 and Oct 8, 2008 for an electricity supply project to PKFZ which was not implemented
The charges, under Section 420 of the Penal Code, provide an imprisonment for up to 10 years and whipping and fine, upon conviction.
The two men had initially pleaded not guilty to two counts of cheating Port Klang Authority (PKA) by making false claims amounting to RM5.42 million on July 31, 2007 and Sept 21, 2007.
Initially, Tan and Law, 52, were also charged with another 24 counts of cheating PKA by allegedly making false claims amounting to RM116.85 million between June 30, 2006, and May 30, 2008.