A 30-year-old local man working as a security guard was sentenced to three months’ jail by the Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday in Kuala Belait for abetting the theft of steel plates.
Abdul Wafiy bin A Mazlan earlier denied committing the offence, but before the trial started, he had a change of heart and pleaded guilty to the charge.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sabrina binti Haji Mahmud revealed in court that Abdul Wafiy was posted at the Marine Construction Yard (MCY), Kuala Belait, whose work scope included monitoring and controlling the entry of people entering MCY.
A person identified as A working at MCY and a person identified as Ryan, an ex-employee at MCY, were known to the defendant for a number of years as they all had worked together at MCY.
On August 8, 2019, Ryan contacted the defendant and informed him someone would arrive at MCY to collect A’s items.
A also informed the defendant to expect someone to collect the items. The defendant had a hunch it was something dubious but agreed with Ryan.
At about 9.56pm, a person identified as B in coveralls knocked on the security post near Gate A of MCY and informed the defendant that he was there to collect A’s items. B also told the defendant that a truck would be coming to collect A’s items.
The defendant let B enter MCY on foot via the gate and, a few minutes later, a HIAB truck approached the same security post, driven by a person identified as C. The defendant pressed the button to open the gates to allow the truck in.
The truck entered MCY. The defendant did not know where it went, but did not log the entry and exit into the security log book.
At 10.35pm, the truck drove towards gate A and later exited MCY. Later that night the truck returned again to MCY. The defendant allowed it in, and as in the earlier instance, was not aware where it went.
This time the truck left MCY at 1.04am.
The defendant knew that the truck was carrying items out of MCY without authorisation and that the items were disguised as belonging to A. The defendant took photographs and communicated it to Ryan via WhatsApp as proof that the items ‘belonging to A’ had been collected.
The next day, he received a notification on his phone informing that BND200 had been banked into his account. He never asked for the money but it was his understanding that the money was a gesture from Ryan for his assistance in allowing the unlawful entry and exit of the truck carrying the stolen items out of MCY.
It was only after the defendant’s arrest that he was aware that B and C had loaded structural steel plates and chequered plates onto the truck using a forklift. They both left the MCY with the stolen items and headed towards a metal scrapyard in Anduki, where B and C sold the stolen items.
From two trips, they had sold 10 structural steel plates and two chequered plates to the metal scrapyard.
The defendant admitted his abetment to the theft of over just over BND11,000 worth of items by aiding B and Ryan. Police recovered six structural plates and two chequered plates.
The defendant’s lawyer Pengiran Mohd Khairul Nizam bin Pengiran Mohd Yassin pleaded for the court to hand down a non-custodial sentence to the defendant as he has no previous convictions, his minimal knowledge and role in the criminal enterprise and that most of the items were recovered.
Magistrate Hajah Ervy Sufitriana binti Haji Abdul Rahman, however, rejected the defence counsel’s submission by highlighting that “those who are tasked to take care of the properties of others should duly carry out their responsibilities to do so, and viewed that this is a case where a fine or probation would not be appropriate as it would not reflect the public interest in this matter, hence necessitates a custodial sentence”.