Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) deputy director Marvin Sim Wai Meng explained the procurement process at the agency as he took the stand Tuesday in the sixth day of the sex-for-contracts trial involving ex-CNB chief Ng Boon Gay.
Sim, who was dressed in a pale blue shirt, bright blue tie and grey pants, testified that while Ng was chief of CNB he had the “final quotation approving authority” for procurements below the value of $1 million.
He also stated that the chief “was not obliged” to provide a reason if he were to reject a procurement proposal, but according to his knowledge, Ng did not on any occasion reject a proposal.
Sim later continued to say that Ng also had no say in proposing or initiating any IT-related projects, which was in fact proposed by CNB’s Department Technology Office (DTO).
At the end of Sim’s testimony, the defence counsel, Tan Chee Meng, requested for the prosecution to submit two new documents – the quotation prepared by Cecilia Sue for an IT project as well as the CNB’s budget review meeting minutes.
The prosecution agreed to this, but sought the judge’s understanding that they would need time to look through the documents and “redact” sensitive information relating to CNB’s operations.
The vice-president and general manager of Hitachi Data Systems ASEAN, Gunaravi Rajendran, also testified in court later that morning.
Rajendran explained how Cecilia Sue, the prosecution’s key witness, was hired by HDS and the role that she played in the company.
When asked by the defence counsel if HDS was aware of any impropriety during Sue’s employment, Rajendran replied that they were not aware of anything except for what they saw in the papers.
He revealed that a “factual review” was conducted by the company after news of the investigation broke, but it was conducted on a “corporate level” and he has not seen the results of the review yet.
Later in the afternoon session of Tuesday's trial, Ministry of Finance deputy
director Anita Lai Wai Cheng was called to the stand as the
prosecution's fifth witness.
In her testimony, she went through a lengthy explanation of the government's procurement policies, detailing the framework behind tenders, and the following evaluation process made before a recommendation is submitted to be approved.
"When in doubt, err on the safe side and declare any conflict of interest," she answered when the prosecution asked what the approving authority should do in the event of a potential conflict of interest.