PUTRAJAYA (April 22): The RM2 million that Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd managing director Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong testified was his political donation to former federal territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and the receipt issued to the businessman for the funds dominated the Putrajaya Member of Parliament's (MP) appeal today.
Tengku Adnan's counsel Datuk Tan Hock Chuan told the three-member Court of Appeal bench that the High Court judge was wrong in not accepting Chai's testimony that the RM2 million cheque he issued to Tadmansori Holdings Sdn Bhd (THSB), a company controlled by the former minister, was a political donation.
“The payment made by Chai was made on June 14, 2016, while the twin by-elections were scheduled to be held on Saturday, July 20. The appellant (Tengku Adnan) had also testified that he advanced his money for the by-elections to that amount,” he told the appellate court bench.
“Furthermore, the trial judge did not consider Chai's evidence in producing the receipt, and this should have shown that the prosecution had not [established] a prima facie case for the court to order Tengku Adnan to enter his defence,” he said.
The by-elections were held to fill the Parliamentary seats of Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar, which fell vacant after their elected representatives died in a helicopter crash in Sarawak.
Tan said the court should have accepted Chai's evidence as he was the prosecution's own witness, and the prosecution did not apply for him to be treated as a hostile witness or impeached.
“Therefore, the court should have accepted Chai's testimony as he had reiterated many times, and even investigating officer Muhammad Saad Bordani testified that the businessman did tell him that the funds were given as a political donation,” he added.
The appeal was initially fixed for three days from today until April 26, but the proceedings ended slightly after 1pm with Justice Datuk Suraya Othman — who was leading the bench — and Justice Datuk Abu Bakar Jais interrupting Tan and the prosecution several times to cut their submissions.
The third member of the bench was Datuk Ahmad Nasfy Yasin.
Tengku Adnan, better known as Ku Nan, was found guilty under Section 165 of the Penal Code by the High Court on Dec 21 of receiving RM2 million in kickbacks from Chai while he was the federal territories minister.
The section stipulates that a public servant who accepts for himself any valuable thing without consideration shall be punished with imprisonment for up to two years, or a fine or both.
Receipt fabricated, says prosecution
The receipt, which seemed “new and crisp”, showed that it was fabricated, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Datin Nurshuhaida Zainal Azahar.
Abu Bakar: Is it the prosecution's contention that the receipt, which was not earlier shown to Saad, was fabricated?
Nurshuhaida: Yes, we say it was fabricated and that was why the trial judge did not accept the receipt as evidence in his defence.
The DPP also said that the prosecution made a calculated move not to impeach Chai as it recognised the witness as biased towards Ku Nan.
“Furthermore, as shown from the receipt book where the receipt for Chai was not issued in the proper sequence, this further lent credence to our contention that it was fabricated and the trial judge noticed it being 'crisp and new',” she added.
Meanwhile, fellow DPP Asmah Musa told the court that even the financial controller of Tadmansori testified that there was no money going to Umno, and that the funds which came into the company were for Ku Nan's use.
She added that while Chai had testified that Ku Nan asked for a donation of RM5 million to RM6 million, he strangely knew about the RM2 million that was coming into Tadmansori’s accounts and told its financial controller about the amount.
“How could he have known the money coming in was RM2 million?” she asked.
Asmah and Nursuhaida also highlighted Tengku Adnan's capacity in receiving political donations as he was not the Umno treasurer at that time. He was then the party secretary-general.
Court postpones decision to later date
After hearing Tan’s reply, Justice Suraya said the bench will defer delivering its decision to another date.
"We thanked the parties for their submissions. After deliberation, we decided we need some time to do a bit of research before we come to make our decision. We will inform the parties of the date of the decision," she said.
Tengku Adnan was found guilty by High Court Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan on Dec 21 of graft of accepting RM2 million from Chai.
For this, the 70-year-old, who is now the Umno treasurer, was sentenced to 12 months' jail and fined RM2 million, against which he is presently appealing.