KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 - A Vietnamese businesswoman with the honorific title ‘Datuk’ was sentenced to three years jail and fined RM1.75 million by the Sessions Court here today for offering bribes amounting to RM350,000 to a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) officer.
She was found guilty on two counts of offering the bribes to the MMEA officer so that the agency would release four Vietnamese fishing boats.
Judge Rozina Ayob in sentencing Datuk Maimunah also known as Tran Thi Mai, 43, said the defence had failed to raise any reasonable doubt.
For the first charge, the court sentenced Tran to three years’ jail and fined RM1.5 million in default 12 months' jail. She was also sentenced to three years' jail and a fine of RM250,000 in default six-months jail, for the second charge. Both the sentences are to run concurrently starting today.
She was charged on the first count with offering RM300,000 in cash to Muhammad Sani Abdullah, 31 as an inducement to Amran Daud, the Maritime director of Sedili District, Johor, to release three Vietnamese fishing boats that were seized by the MMEA in Tanjung Sedili, Kota Tinggi. The boats were suspected of trespassing into Malaysian waters to gather marine produce.
For the second charge, Tran offered RM50,000 as an inducement to Amran for the release of the fourth Vietnamese fishing boat.
The offences were committed at the Hot Gossip Cafe, Park Royal Hotel, Jalan Bukit Bintang, here on May 2, 2017 and Starbucks Restaurant, Pearl Point Shopping Mall here on May 12, 2017.
Earlier, deputy public prosecutor of the MACC Mohamad Fadhly Mohd Zamry had sought a deterrent sentence as the offence was serious and involved RM350,000, which was a large sum.
However, Tran’s counsel Haijan Omar, in pleading for leniency, said that her client was a single mother and had four children who were still schooling.
She also applied for a stay of execution pending the appeal in the High Court, but Judge Rozina rejected the application saying it was a lesson for Tran and other foreigners not to commit such offences in the country.
The trial which began in December 2017, saw 38 prosecution and five defence witnesses being called to testify.