Spanco executive director claims trial to cheating charge

By THE STAR | 3 April 2024

Tan arriving at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex.

KUALA LUMPUR: Spanco Sdn Bhd executive director Tan Sri Robert Tan Hua Choon has pleaded not guilty to a charge of cheating linked to the procurement and management of the government’s vehicle fleet.

He claimed trial to the charge after it was read out before Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge Suzana Hussin here today.

Tan is accused of cheating and inducing the Finance Ministry through the Public-Private Partnership Unit to award Spanco Sdn Bhd a contract worth RM3,966,386,628.

He allegedly cheated the Tender Opening Committee by claiming that there was at least 30% bumiputra shareholding in Spanco in its document entitled "Appendix IV (Annex i) Bidder's Profile" of the "Request for Proposal for Supply, Repair, Maintenance and Management of Government of Malaysia Vehicle Fleet”.

The offence was framed under Section 420 of the Penal Code (Act 574) for cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.

He allegedly committed the offence at the ministry’s office in Putrajaya between Feb 27 and 28, 2019.

If found guilty, Tan faces a jail term of not less than a year and not more than 10 years, caning, and a fine.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Deputy Public Prosecutor Mahadi Jumaat offered RM2mil bail with one surety, with the conditions that the accused surrenders his passport and reports to the Kuala Lumpur MACC office on the first week of every month until the trial's conclusion.

“For the purpose of bail, after considering the value of the accusation, the status of the accused and the seriousness of the offence, the prosecution would suggest (this amount and conditions).

"The (bail amount) has been agreed upon by both prosecution and defence,” he said.

Mahadi also proposed that the accused should not contact the witnesses during the trial.

Tan’s lawyer Datuk Wan Azmir Wan Majid said in mitigation that, although his client agreed to the bail amount, he was not a flight risk owing to his age and health.

“My client is 83 years old and is suffering from hypertension, knee and backaches, and requires medical attention.

"He also relies on a cane and the help of his assistant to move around (for his) daily activities.

“As mentioned earlier,while the amount of bail is very high, my client does not object to it.

"However, the surrender of his passport and monthly reporting to the MACC office are unnecessary.

"Instead, (he should need to) report once every three months,” he said.

Judge Suzana then fixed bail at RM2mil with one surety.

She also ordered the accused to surrender his passport to the court and to report to the MACC office once every two months.

Tan was also told not to have contact with any witnesses during the trial, either directly or through a third party.

The case is set for mention on June 4.