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KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — Former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi told the Sessions Court today that he has never supported awarding maintenance work and mechanical and electrical (M&E) system contract of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) to Asli Jati Engineering Sdn Bhd.
Zaki, 76, who was appointed as UMS board of directors chairman from April 3 2013 to July 31 2018 confirmed that the contract of Asli Jati Engineering Sdn Bhd for maintenance works in UMS which would be expiring on Feb 25 2015, would not be renewed by UMS.
The sixth prosecution witness said the decision not to extend the contract was made by the university board of directors in a meeting on Jan 16 2014 chaired by him with the attendance of UMS vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Harun Abdullah as well as other members of the board.
“The board of directors had received a report from UMS audit committee which stated that Asli Jati Engineering Sdn Bhd had made a claim on maintaining 557 fan coil units (FCU) when there were only 55 air conditioning units in UMS,” he said.
He said when reading out his witness statement during an examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Francine Cheryl Rajendran on the third day of trial of former Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony who is facing charges of using false documents relating to the system maintenance contract. Peter is the managing director of Asli Jati Engineering.
However, Zaki said around August 2014, Mohamad Harun met him and said there were three support letters on operations and maintenance of M&E system at phase 2B building, infra of the main campus ( Sikuati Outpatient Centre, Kudat) and other UMS buildings.
“Datuk Harun said among the content of the support letters was that UMS supported awarding the contract work to Asli Jati.
“The matter was against the decision made by the board of directors and Datuk Harun also reminded me that the board of directors had decided that the contract be awarded through an open tender,” he said.
In addition, after being told by Mohamad Harun on the content of the supporting letters, he informed the then Higher Education Ministry secretary-general Datuk Zaini Ujang who later arranged a meeting with the then Prime Minister who was also Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at Parliament building.
“I briefly informed the content of the letters to the Prime Minister and he agreed that the contract on maintenance work and mechanical and electrical system be made through an open tender.
“In January 2015 I again met Datuk Seri Najib in a programme at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Jalan Semarak and he also agreed that the M&E contract for phase 2A be made through an open tender,” he said.
Peter, 50, as the managing director of Asli Jati Sdn Bhd, is charged with forging a letter from the UMS deputy vice chancellor’s office dated June 9, 2014, by inserting a false statement in the title of the letter with the intention of using it to deceive the office of the Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister at the Perdana Putra Building in Putrajaya between June 13, 2014, and Aug 21, 2014.
He was also charged on the optional charge as the managing director of Asli Jati Sdn Bhd over the use of a false document as genuine, namely a letter from the office of the deputy vice-chancellor of UMS dated June 9, 2014, which had a false statement in the title of the letter, and he had reason to believe that the document is false, in the same place and time.
Peter was also charged under Section 468 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum jail term of seven years and a fine and under Section 471 of the Penal Code and is punishable under Section 465 of the same code which carries a jail term of up to two years, or a fine, or both, if convicted.
The trial before Judge Azura Alwi continues tomorrow. — Bernama