The Mercedes-Benz S300L was exempted from tax and was given a special discount of RM100,000. It was purchased at RM298,263.75 , the original price was RM657,218.
CM Lim Guan Eng should explain in court of law how the discount given in the Mercedes purchase is not in anticipation of political influence for tenders and government contracts in the future.
Lowe Motors is a potential supplier of the official cars. The hefty discount is unprecedented and illogical in business sense. The discount was given after the vendor failed to sell 15 units of Mercedes-Benz E250 to the state government. It is only offered specially to the Chief Minister. Therefore the discount will be viewed as something with hidden agenda. Lim Guan Eng should immediately return the car and disassociate himself from this deal. As head of the state government, Lim Guan Eng play a part in deciding the type of car to be used as an official car. This will create a situation of conflict of interest.
The point here is if there is no discount, the state government will not purchase the car. The hefty discount is designed to allow Lim Guan Eng to obtain a luxury government vehicle as part of his perks. It may be a potential inducement for Lim Guan Eng to reconsider his decision to use Toyota Camry as the official cars.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Serving the public interest is the fundamental mission of a government and its public institutions. Citizens expect individual public officials to perform their duties with integrity, in a fair and unbiased way. Governments are increasingly expected to ensure that public officials do not allow their private interests and affiliations to compromise official decision-making and public management. In an increasingly demanding society, inadequately managed conflicts of interest on the part of public officials have the potential to weaken citizens' trust in public institutions. (source: OECD-GUIDELINES FOR MANAGING CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR)
New forms of relationship have developed between the public sector and the business and non-profit sectors, giving rise for example to increasingly close forms of collaboration such as public/private partnerships, self-regulation, interchanges of personnel, and sponsorships. New forms of employment in the public sector have also emerged with potential for changes to traditional employment obligations and loyalties. In consequence, there is clearly an emerging potential for new forms of conflict of interest involving an individual official's private interests and public duties, and growing public concern has put pressure on governments to ensure that the integrity of official decision-making is not compromised.(source: OECD)
While a conflict of interest is not ipso facto corruption, there is increasing recognition that conflicts between the private interests and public duties of public officials, if inadequately managed, can result in corruption. The proper objective of an effective Conflict of Interest policy is not the simple prohibition of all private-capacity interests on the part of public officials, even if such an approach were conceivable. The immediate objective should be to maintain the integrity of official policy and administrative decisions, and of public management generally, recognising that an unresolved conflict of interest may result in abuse of public office.(source: OECD)
The following is what Hong Kong's Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO) said about the discount from the vendor:
Q: Is it against the law if an employee of a public body accepts an advantage from someone without returning a favour at his official duties?
A:If both the offeror and receiver believe the advantage involves the employee to use his power to offer a favour to the offeror of the advantage, they are in breach of Section 4 of the POBO even though that employee does not have the required power, or does not intend to or actually does not offer any favour at his official duties.
Let take a look at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009
What is commonly known as a "bribe" is described as a "Gratification“ under the MACC Act . Under Section 2 of the MACC Act ， "Gratifications" can take many forms, and they include:
(a) money, donation, gift, loan, fee, reward, valuable security, property or interest in property being property of any description whether movable or immovable, or any other similar advantage;
(b) any office, dignity, employment, contract of employment or services, and any agreement to give employment or render services in any capacity;
(c) any payment, release, discharge or liquidation of any loan, obligation or other liability, whether in whole or in part;
(d) any valuable consideration of any kind, any discount, commission, rebate, bonus, deduction or percentage;
(e) any forbearance to demand any money or money's worth or valuable thing;
(f) any other service or favour of any description, such as protection from any penalty or disability incurred or apprehended or from any action or proceedings of a disciplinary, civil or criminal nature, whether or not already instituted, and including the exercise or the forbearance from the exercise of any right or any official power or duty; and
(g) any offer, undertaking or promise, whether conditional or unconditional, of any gratification within the meaning of any of the preceding paragraphs (a) to (f);
HE CORRUPTION FELONIES
The Offence of accepting gratification under section 16 of the MACC Act are as follows:
Any person who by himself, or by or in conjunction with any other person
( a) corruptly solicits or receives or agrees to receive for himself or for any other person; or
( b) corruptly gives, promises or offers to any person whether for the benefit of that person or of another person,
any gratification as an inducement to or a reward for, or otherwise on account of—
( A ) any person doing or forbearing to do anything in respect of any matter or transaction, actual or proposed or likely to take place; or
( B ) any officer of a public body doing or forbearing to do anything in respect of any matter or transaction, actual or proposed or likely to take place, in which the public body is concerned,shall be guilty of an offence.
Any person who is found guilty of an offence under section 16, 17, 20, 21, 22 or 23 shall on conviction be liable to—
(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding twenty years; and
(b) a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification which is the subject matter of the offence where such gratification is capable of being valued or is of a pecuniary nature, or ten thousand ringgit, whichever
is the higher.
In proceedings relating to any of the offences described above, any gratification received or agreed to be received, accepted or agreed to be accepted, obtained or attempted to be obtained, solicited, given or agreed to be given, promised or offered, by or to an accused is presumed to have been done so corruptly, unless the contrary is proved. (source: http://www.skrine.com/