Posted by SM Maulana
KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee, a former Sabah chief minister, had ordered the payment of over RM5 million profit from the sale of shares belonging to a state-owned company to his selected agents in 1996, the High Court heard yesterday.
Briskmark Enterprise Sdn Bhd former director Datuk Wasli Mohd Said said that when he was general manager of the Sabah Land Development Board (SLDB), he met then chief minister Yong at his office to brief him about the proposed management buyout of 40 per cent shares in Sapi Plantation owned by the SLDB.
Wasli said his lawyer, William Cheah, mooted the idea of setting up the company (Briskmark) to use it as a vehicle for political funding and the lawyer had asked him to brief the chief minister regarding the matter.
“I briefed the chief minister on the matter and told him about the profit arising from the listing exercise involving Sapi shares into PPB Oil Palms,” he said.
He said that after the first meeting, he met Yong several times not only at his office but also at other places where the former chief minister instructed him that part of the profit from the sale of shares to be paid to his selected agents.
During examination-in-chief by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria, Wasli said Yong would contact him on his handphone to say when and where the payment was to be made as well as the plate number of the agents’ car.
He was testifying at the trial of former Land and Cooperative Development Minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam, who is alleged to have used his position as SLDB chairman for financial gain by taking part in the decision to approve the proposed sale of 16.8 million Sapi shares held by SLDB to Briskmark.
Kasitah, 60, is also alleged to have deceived SLDB by omitting to disclose the offer by PPB Oil Palms to allocate 5 shares for each Sapi share in its proposed listing exercise.
When questioned further, Wasli said one of the payments to Yong’s agents was made just before the 1999 general election.
He added that besides Yong, he paid RM500,000 to each of eight board members of Briskmark as a donation.
The board members were Datuk Salleh Otik, Datuk Ismail Jook, Abdul Kader Pateh, Laimun Laikim, Michael Emban, Talib Aning, John Liaw and Catherine Yong.
Wasli said he did not receive any receipts for the payments to Yong’s agents and the others.
To another question, Wasli said most of the letters to the minister in charge of SLDB (Datuk Joseph Kurup, now Tan Sri), the former chief minister and SLDB were drafted by his lawyer (William Cheah) and he just signed them.
“Basically he (lawyer) planned everything and I executed it,” he added.
He said that prior to the sale of shares, his lawyer advised him to meet Kasitah, who was then SLDB chairman, to inform him via a letter that 8 per cent of the 40 per cent Sapi shares would be sold to Kasitah.
Wasli said he handed over the letter to Kasitah on Oct 5, 1996 and Kasitah just nodded after reading the letter.
He also told the court that Kasitah had asked him to meet RHB Bank officer Rossana Annizah on the sale of the 8 per cent shares which were equivalent to 16 million ordinary shares in PPB Oil Palms.
The hearing before judge Suraya Othman continues today. — Bernama