Singapore—The trial of Victor Wong Chee Meng, 58, was temporarily adjourned on Tuesday, March 5. The former general manager and secretary of Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) will be entering a guilty plea at a later date.
According to Yahoo Singapore, the former town councillor’s lawyer, Melanie Ho, told District Judge John N that Mr Wong has decided to plead guilty to the charges for “personal and other reasons.”
Ms Ho did not indicate what these reasons are.
The prosecution is now getting the legal documents for Mr Wong’s guilty plea ready.
He is facing 55 counts of graft from charges over bribes that occurred between December 2014 and September 2016. The total amount involved in these bribes is S$107,336.50.
While a town councillor for AMKTC, Mr Wong reportedly received various amounts of money from Omar Chia Sin Lan, age 62, the major shareholder and director of two companies that carry out works for town councils. Mr Chia’s companies names are 19-ANC Enterprise and 19-NS2 Enterprise.
AMKTC awarded these two firms contracts and tenders to the tune of millions of dollars at the time when Mr Chia was bribing Mr Wong. Mr Chia himself is facing 55 counts of graft.
Mr Wong’s trial began in September 2018. Back then, Alan Loh, the Deputy Public Prosecutor in the case, said, “The lion’s share of the gratification, some S$52,893.07, was in the form of entertainment expenses incurred by Victor Wong and Omar Chia at various KTV lounges and massage parlours, which the two frequented regularly at night.”
When he bought a Toyota Altis that had been the possession of Chia’s companies, Mr Wong also reportedly was given a sizable discount of S$13,500.
Moreover, Mr Chia supposedly sent remittances of S$30,000 to a woman in China reported to be the mistress of Mr Wong. The business owner was also said to have paid for a line for a mobile phone so that both Mr Wong and his mistress could call China for free. Finally, Mr Chia also hired the daughter-in-law of Mr Wong as a subcontractor for one of Chia’s firms.
The Deputy Prosecutor also had this to say: “As the general manager of AMKTC, Victor Wong had the power and ability to influence the award of AMKTC projects. Victor Wong was expected to act with absolute probity, particularly because his job involved the administration of public funds.”
“Instead of exercising his role impartially without favour, Victor Wong fell far short of the high standards of integrity demanded of his office and allowed himself to be cultivated by Omar Chia and had become beholden to him.”
Anti-graft investigators began to examine Mr Wong’s suspicious activities as far back as December 2016.
Mr Wong worked under CPG Facilities Management, which is the managing agent of AMKTC. The former town councillor was requested to go on leave after someone filed a complaint about him in September 2016. Two months later he was stripped of his roles in the town council.
For every graft charge that Messrs Wong and Chia face, they could be fined as much as S$100,000, as well as receive a seven-year jail sentence.
AMKTC is responsible for the oversight of residential estates in Ang Mo Kio GRC group representation constituency. While it’s chairman is Ang Hin Kee, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself is also a town councillor of this particular group representation constituency, along with Gan Thiam Poh, Intan Azura Mokhtar, Koh Poh Koon, Lam Pin Min and Darryl David.