Cleaner charged in NIC theft case

Fadley Faisal & Hakim Hayat

A  Filipino was charged in the Intermediate Court yesterday for theft in a protected place, an offence that falls under Section 380A of the Penal Code, Chapter 22.

Jay Noel De Vera Gonzales, 40, working as a cleaner at the National Isolation Centre (NIC) in Tutong District is alleged to have stolen cash and other valuable items at the NIC, which has been gazetted as a protected place under the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act, Chapter 147.

The Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) said that the defendant was arrested by personnel from the Tutong Police Station, on the basis of CCTV footage that showed him frequently checking the bins in the decontamination area of the NIC. The RBPF also said that he allegedly switched the bins, where one contained a stolen item which was a backpack owned by one of the patients at the centre.

All of the stolen items were recovered and confiscated for evidence.

If convicted, the defendant is liable to a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and caning.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohammad Kamal Ariffin bin Ismail applied for the charge to be read, and for the defendant’s plea to be recorded before Judge Muhammed Faisal bin Pehin Datu Juragan Laila Diraja Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Kefli.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge and the Judge adjourned the case to April 29, for trial dates to be fixed.

Items recovered during the investigation. PHOTO: RBPF