Federal Court upholds death sentence of ex-tow truck driver for murder of AmBank founder

Federal Court upholds death sentence of ex-tow truck driver for murder of AmBank founder
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PUTRAJAYA (March 1): The Federal Court here today upheld the conviction and death sentence of a former tow truck driver for the murder of AmBank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi in 2013.

A three-member bench led by Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Rohana Yusuf also affirmed the 18-year jail term for Koong Swee Kwan for attempting to murder Najadi's wife Cheong Mei Kuen.

The bench, which also comprised Federal Court Judges Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli and Datuk Seri Hasnah Mohammed Hashim, dismissed Koong's final appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Justice Rohana said the evidence against Koong was overwhelming.

Koong's lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said his client's last recourse is to appeal for clemency to the Pardons' Board.

He submitted in the appeal that his client's defence was not fairly and justly assessed by the trial judge as required by the law.

Koong, 52, known as Sei Ngan Chai (bespectacled), was sentenced to death on Oct 27, 2017 for killing Najadi, 75, after a retrial of his case. He was also sentenced to 18 years in jail for attempting to murder Cheong.

The man was charged with committing the offences in the parking lot of the Kuan Yin Temple in Lorong Ceylon between 1.30pm and 2pm on July 29, 2013.

On Sept 5, 2014, Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Datuk Mohd Azman Husin sentenced Koong to death for Najadi’s murder and 18 years’ jail for the attempted murder.

However, on Dec 14, 2016, the Federal Court five-man bench set aside his conviction and ordered the case to be retried in the High Court after ruling that Justice Mohd Azman could have been prejudiced since he had heard the appeal of a taxi man, Chew Siang Chee, who was facing charges of possession of a pistol and bullets. Chew was said to have driven Koong away after the shooting.

Chew was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in jail on two charges by the Sessions Court for possessing a pistol and live bullets. However, he was acquitted by the Court of Appeal in 2015.

The retrial of Koong's case was heard by then judicial commissioner Datuk Ab Karim Ab Rahman (now a High Court judge).

Meanwhile, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tetralina Ahmed Fauzi argued that the conviction against Koong is safe as there is overwhelming evidence to support it.

She said the High Court judge had followed Section 182 of the Criminal Procedure Code when he decided that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.