Former civil servant gets 10 months for graft
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
A FORMER office assistant at the Treasury Department who was convicted of accepting gratification was sentenced yesterday to serve 10 months in jail.
The defendant Hj Kula Hj Salleh, 53, was found guilty after trial over the charge of accepting $200 in gratification from a uniformed personnel some time in March 2012. The gratification accepted by the defendant was a reward for assisting the staff sergeant in expediting the release of his subsistence allowance.
In delivering her verdict yesterday, magistrate Azrimah Hj Abd Rahman noted Hj Kula’s mitigation whereby he had sought for the court to impose a fine.
Hj Kula told the court that his family is wholly dependent on him, as his wife is a foreigner and a child who is unwell. He was unemployed at the time and has been supporting his family by selling food and fishing.
However, the court said that personal circumstances, in this case financial difficulty and hardship caused to the family by the defendant, have no mitigating value.
She went on to say that the court has consistently taken a stern approach in sentencing of corruption offences and particularly applicable to offenders who are public servants as they are under employment of The Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
“The preservation of corruption-free environment has always been a cornerstone of this country especially for those in the public sector,” said the magistrate, adding that custodial sentence is the norm in corruption cases involving public servants.
Furthermore, as the defendant had claimed trial, he had deprived himself of the one-third off in sentencing if he had pleaded guilty in the first opportunity and indicated remorse.
The court however did consider the undue delay in bringing the case to court as the offence was committed in 2012 but only brought to court in 2014. The magistrate deducted two months from the starting point of 12 months in jail in view of the prosecution’s delay in bringing the case.
The Brunei Times