No go for Ku Nan RM1m corruption trial after lawyer filed application to recuse High Court judge

Former Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court September 19, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Former Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court September 19, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 ― Hearing for Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor's RM1 million corruption trial at the High Court today has been adjourned to tomorrow after his lawyer filed an 11th hour application to recuse the learned judge on grounds that he may not get a fair trial.

Tengku Adnan's lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan told High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that he received instructions from his client to file the motion after another co-accused, businessman Datuk Tan Eng Boon pleaded guilty to an alternative charge and was subsequently sentenced to a fine of RM1.5 million by the same High Court on September 17.

The businessman had also agreed to testify as a prosecution witness in the RM1 million corruption trial in exchange for escaping a jail sentence.

In the motion filed, Tengku Adnan is seeking to recuse the learned judge from hearing his case and for it to be transferred to a new High Court presided by a different judge to be heard anew.

In the supporting affidavit, Tan said his client expressed doubts that the learned judge may be influenced by the facts of the case when he presided over Eng Boon's plea hearing.

“My client is concerned he will not be able to get a fair trial before this court on the grounds that Yang Arif has heard the facts of the case and sentenced Tan,” Tan said.

Tengku Adnan also stated in his affidavit that he was learned from media reports that Tan has agreed to testify against him as the prosecution witness before the court.

“I am very concerned and fear that the learned judge will believe his testimony given that Eng Boon had pleaded guilty.

“Justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done,” Tengku Adnan added.

Deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim in confirming the receiving of the affidavit, said the prosecution needed time to prepare a replying affidavit as it had only received the related documents around 4pm yesterday.

Mohd Nazlan then ordered the prosecution to submit a replying affidavit by 3pm today, with the hearing of the application fixed for 9am tomorrow.

Tengku Adnan, the former Cabinet minister commonly called Ku Nan, is on trial for allegedly receiving a RM1 million bribe via Eng Boon through a Public Bank cheque belonging to Pekan Nenas Industries Sdn Bhd that was deposited into his personal CIMB bank account.

He allegedly committed the offence on December 27, 2013, knowing that Eng Boon as director in Nucleus Properties Sdn Bhd (now known as Paragon City Development Sdn Bhd) had a connection with his official duties as the Federal Territories minister.

According to the charge, Tengku Adnan allegedly receive the sum from Eng Boon as inducement to approve an application from Nucleus Properties Sdn Bhd (now known as Paragon City Development Sdn Bhd) to increase the plot ratio for the development of Lot 228 in Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur.

Last month, Mohd Nazlan had granted the prosecution’s request for Tan and Tengku Adnan to be jointly tried.

Eng Boon, 70, subsequently pleaded guilty to an alternative charge under Section 165 of the Penal Code which carries a two-year jail term, a fine or both upon conviction for abetting Tengku Adnan in receiving the RM1 million bribe.

In imposing the sentence, Mohd Nazlan said he had also taken into consideration that Eng Boon had abetted another person in committing the crime in which both were jointly charged.

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