| Siti Hajar |
THE Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has recovered over BND$600,000 from the bank accounts in Singapore of a key Brunei Shell Petroleum contractor, who was jailed for bribery in November 2013.
The case marked the first time the Government of Brunei Darussalam has enforced an asset recovery order through the use of Mutual Legal Assistance, the AGC said in a press statement.
The AGC said the recovery of the proceeds of the corruption case served as “a reminder that criminals who hide their money and assets overseas are not untouchable”.
The contractor, Malaysian national David Chong, who was the manager of Musfada Enterprise, was found guilty of multiple counts of bribing Shell employees in what was described by the High Court as a case involving “syndicated corruption on the large scale” between 2005 and 2009. The case was investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
In addition to Chong’s total jail term of six years and four months, the judge in the case, Judicial Commissioner John Gareth Lugar-Mawson, had made a Benefit Recovery Order under the Criminal Asset Recovery Order (CARO) in order to recover funds held in Chong’s bank accounts in Singapore.
The AGC and the Attorney General’s Chambers of Singapore, both of which function as the Mutual Legal Assistance Secretariats of their respective nations, had carried out extensive cooperative work to enforce the Benefit Recovery Order.
“The money is to be paid into the Criminal Assets Confiscation Fund, established under CARO which is managed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance,” the AGC said.
The AGC said the recovery of proceeds from the crime highlighted the importance of mutual legal assistance.
“The successful enforcement of the Benefit Recovery Order is also testament to the strong and robust international cooperation framework that Brunei Darussalam possesses through laws such as the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Order (MACMO) and the Criminal Asset Recovery Order as well as the strong and long-standing working relationship between the Attorney General’s Chambers of Brunei Darussalam and Singapore.”