| Fadley Faisal |
A TRADESMAN Grade II at the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe) was acquitted of all 22 charges he faced after the magistrate’s court found no burden of proof made out by the prosecution to say that Ismail bin Arif had misled JASTRe on 22 occassions in claiming mileage allowances.
DPP Haji Afif Daraina preferred 22 charges against Ismail bin Arif of using documents with false particulars to claim for mileage allowance for his personal vehicle used in carrying out his duties which were intended to mislead JASTRe.
Ismail bin Arif, represented by lawyer Yusof Halim, pleaded not guilty to all 22 charges.
Ismail was a daily paid Tradesman at JASTRe after retiring from his original position at the Public Works Department in 2008. He made the claims from September 6, 2005 to October 6, 2007.
Throughout 2005 and 2007, Ismail’s job scope extended to supervising labourers under his supervision and spans to venues such as schools, ministries, departments and other places.
Ismail was allowed to make mileage claims for his vehicle, registered BE5068, and has submitted records of his travel for office purposes for every month to the JASTRe clerk which will be then forwarded to the Head of Department.
Ismail’s BE5068 car was in a state of disrepair and had an expired road tax. It has not been used by the defendant.
However, Ismail’s defence counsel submitted that in March 2003, JASTRe took over Ismail’s unit at PWD and was asked to make new mileage applications in which Ismail did so and was approved.
Ismail belived that the approval by Ministry of Finance had given him the right to use any of his own cars for work purposes and is entitled to make mileage claims, and use any of his cars at home.
Everyone at work knows that Ismail’s car was unusable, but had made claims for mileage under the BE5068 car.
The defendant actually did claim for mileage on work trips but using different personal cars claimed under BE5068.
Ismail had not learnt about a circular for the procedures of the Prime Minister’s Office that specific mileage claims under specific vehicles are supposed to be made.
Senior Magistrate Pg Masni Pg Bahar also found during the trial that it is not easy to access the circular issued by the Prime MInister’s Office.
The court acquitted Ismail of all 22 charges in that the court was not satisfied that the prosecution had proven that on all 22 dates of commission of the offences, Ismail had used documents containing false statements to make mileage claims and intended to mislead JASTRe.