KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 7): The Sessions Court here had today rejected Transmile Group Bhd founder and former chief executive officer Gan Boon Aun's guilty plea in the air-freight company's accounting scandal more than 10 years ago.
Sessions Court Judge Hasbullah Adam rejected Gan’s guilty plea, as the plea was done with certain repudiations to the facts of the case. According to Hasbullah, the facts of the case were significant to the charge.
Hasbullah said the alternative charge has been read to Gan and that he pleaded guilty to it. Hasbullah explained three aspects of a guilty plea to make sure Gan understood the nature and consequences of his guilty plea. The accused answered in the affirmative.
Hasbullah explained to Gan that when an accused pleads guilty to a charge:
1. There will be no further full trial of the case
2. The accused will be convicted for the charge and can be sentenced to punishment according to the the law. In Gan's case, he can be punished with a fine of up to RM3 million or maximum imprisonment of 10 years, or both.
3. After being convicted by the court, the accused may only appeal on the sentence, but not on the conviction.
“The prosecution then presented the facts of the case consisting of 25 paragraphs on which the accused disagreed on a number of paragraphs, namely paragraph 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, and 23.
“The principal is that the guilty plea must be completely unreserved, unqualified and unequivocal. Although it is not necessary that the accused admits or agrees on every item of the facts of the case presented by the prosecution, I find that the disagreements of several paragraphs of the facts of the case, especially paragraph 12, 13, 14, and 15, tantamount to reservation and qualification.
“So the plea of guilty by the accused could not be accepted,” Hasbullah said.
Yesterday, Gan pleaded guilty to the alternative charge of being the director of Transmile when the company, with intent to deceive, furnished a misleading statement to Bursa Malaysia back in 2006.
However, he denied certain facts of the case presented by the prosecution. His denial basically absolves him from the responsibility of knowing the fact that there were untrue statements and irregular transactions prior to Transmile reporting its quarterly results to Bursa.
As such, Hasbullah had today found Gan's guilty plea insufficient, hence the trial will continue on Nov 25.
Note that the alternative charge is on Transmile and not on Gan individually. Gan is charged in the alternative charge as a director acting on behalf of the company.
In contrast, the initial principal charge was on him individually for abetting Transmile in making those misleading statements, but Gan has been acquitted from that charge.