The BP Singapore bunker trial continued on Wednesday (30 October) at the State Courts of Singapore where fresh evidence against Koh Seng Lee, the Director of Pacific Prime Trading (PPT), allegedly linking him to three shipping firms were presented.
The evidence presented by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Loh Hui-Min were Trust Deeds to a 50% shareholding of United Maritime Pte Ltd, Sino International Shipping Limited, and Sino Tanker Pte Ltd between Poh Fu Teck, Director of the three shipping firms, and Koh.
The legal documents were uncovered during a Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) search at Koh’s residence on 24 March 2016 where over 70 boxes of documents were uncovered, said the DPP.
The Trust Deeds for United Maritime and Sino International Shipping were both signed on 12 January 2006; a similar deed for Sino Tanker was signed on 18 September 2006.
Koh told the court the Trust Deeds were indeed signed by himself but stated the documents were, “not in effect anymore”.
“The documents are still there but however it is only the paper in existence but the actual effect of the documents is not there anymore,” he said.
Koh explained to the court he initially signed the documents first as Poh asked him to join the companies upon hearing of Koh’s intention to build up his own fleet.
However, Koh later changed his mind and decided not to invest in a 50% shareholding of the three companies due to it being “too troublesome” due to administrative matters.
“If I joined I will have to send the money over to the company; because I did not use my money to join the company therefore this matter [regarding the Trust Deeds] no longer exist,” he said.
Koh said there was no discussion between him and Poh on the amount to be paid for 50% shareholding of the three companies.
He also mentioned telling Poh to dispose of the Trust Deeds at an earlier date and said he was “surprised” to learn of their existence in court.
DPP Loh, in short, did not agree with Koh’s claims.
“Mr Koh I quote to you, you always have a 50% share in these three companies United Maritime Pte Ltd, Sino International Shipping Limited, Sino Tankers Pte Ltd,” she stated.
“I put to you, you are lying about your financial interest in these companies.
“I put to you, you are deliberately suppressing the full extent of your business dealing in Singapore.”
Koh disagreed with all of DPP Loh’s allegations.
PPT previously chartered among the following bunker tankers Friendship, Fellowship, Flagship, Knight, Judge, Envoy, Armada, Luminous, and Radiance to transport marine fuel for BP Singapore.
Records from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) show Sino Tankers as the registered owner of Radiance in 6 August 2008; Luminous from 12 January 2009 to 23 August 2010; Judge from 21 December 2007 to 18 September 2013; Knight from 21 Dec 2007 to 21 August 2013; and a former owner of Envoy.
PPT was formerly a sole supplier of marine fuel for BP Singapore. Koh is facing 20 charges; he is alleged to have offered bribes amounting to US$3.95 million to former BP Singapore Regional Marine Manager Clarence Chang over 19 occasions for advancing the business interests of PPT with BP.
Earlier court sessions of the BP Singapore bunker trial are organised in chronological order below:
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Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 1 November, 2019
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