‘No comments’, says Spanco tycoon Tan on his cheating charge

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Tycoon Tan Sri Tan Hua Choon did not have anything to say on the charge levelled against him over a government fleet vehicle contract worth RM3.9 billion five years ago.

The 83-year-old, when asked if he has comments on the charge against him, briefly replied: “No comments.”

Farhan Razak/NST

He was met as he made his way out of the court complex here at 12.40pm today, after a RM2 million bail was posted.

He was accompanied by a group of people, believed to be his family members.

Earlier, Tan, widely known as Robert Tan in the corporate world, was charged with cheating the Finance Ministry’s tender committee to award Spanco Sdn Bhd a contract valued RM3,966,386,628 through the Public Private Partnership Unit for a tender titled, “Request for Proposal for Supply, Repair, Maintenance and Management of Government of Malaysia Vehicle Fleet.”

He had allegedly cheated the ministry that there was at least 30 per cent of Bumiputera share ownership in Spanco through a document titled “Appendix IV (Annex i) Bidder’s Profile” and, therefore, dishonestly induced the ministry to award the contract.

Tan, who is the company’s executive director, allegedly committed the offence at the ministry’s tender room office in Putrajaya between Feb 27 and Feb 28, 2019.

The charge carries a jail term of up to 10 years, whipping and fine, upon conviction.

Tan pleaded not guilty after the charge was read before Judge Suzana Hussin at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.

Asked by the court interpreter if he understood the charge which was read out in Bahasa Melayu, and his plea, Tan said, “I understand. I am not guilty. I have done so much for the country.”

Bernama

Bail was set at RM2 million by Judge Suzana after the accused’s lawyer Datuk Wan Azmir Wan Majid, did not contest the amount suggested by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mahadi Abdul Jumaat, taking into account the seriousness of the crime and the value of the alleged offence in question.

The court also ordered that the court would withhold the tycoon’s international and diplomatic passports until the trial ends and ordered that they not attempt to discuss the trial with any of the prosecution’s witnesses.

The 83-year-old man is Spanco’s executive director and is still active in its operations, said lawyer Razlan Hadri Zulkifli who held a watching brief for Spanco.

Faihan Ghani/The Star

The tycoon was also ordered to report at the nearest MACC office once every two months.

Although Wan Azmir represented the accused today, Tan’s main counsel is Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik.

The judge set June 4 for the case management date.

Spanco, established in 1988, is the largest independent provider of fleet management solutions in Malaysia.

In 1993, it was awarded a 25-year concession agreement with the government.

However, after the contract ended in 2019, an open tender was launched.

Berjaya Group and Naza Sdn Bhd later formed a consortium and secured the contract through a Letter of Intent (LOI) in that year.

Last July, Berjaya’s founder, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, filed a lawsuit against the Finance Ministry and Spanco regarding the terminated LOI, alleging that the contract was awarded to Spanco despite their higher bid.

Tan’s claims prompted calls for an MACC investigation.