Court orders Ku Nan to enter defence in RM2m bribery case

Former Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex October 14, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Former Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex October 14, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — Former minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor must enter his defence and answer his charge of allegedly taking a RM2 million bribe in 2016, the High Court ruled today.

High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said the prosecution successfully proved prima facie against Tengku Adnan, who is also the Umno treasurer.

“I’m satisfied that the prosecution had made out a prima facie case by producing credible evidence to prove each element of the offence under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which if unrebutted warrants a conviction.

“I therefore order the accused to enter his defence,” the judge said.

Tengku Adnan was charged with receiving a Hong Leong Islamic Bank cheque for RM2 million from businessman Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong, said to belong to developer Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd that had been deposited into the CIMB Bank account of Tadmansori Holding Sdn Bhd in which he had an interest while he served as the Federal Territories minister.

He allegedly committed the offence at CIMB’s Pusat Bandar Damansara Branch on June 14, 2016.

The penalty for the offence under Section 165 of the Penal Code is a maximum two-year jail term or a fine or both.

The prosecution had produced 23 witnesses during the trial, including Chai himself and former Kuala Lumpur mayors Tan Sri Ahmad Phesal Talib and Tan Sri Mohd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz.

Prior to today’s decision today, Tengku Adnan’s case had been heard from July 2 and had continued for 12 days until August 2.

High Court judge Zaini today outlined how the prosecution proved the four elements of the charge against Tengku Adnan.

For the first requirement of Tengku Adnan being a public servant, the judge said this is “not an issue” as Tengku Adnan was the Federal Territories minister in 2016 at the time of the alleged offence, and was “in the service and pay of the government” and was entrusted with the performance of public duty.

As for the second requirement of Tengku Adnan having accepted RM2 million for himself, the judge noted that the payment of RM2 million by Chai’s Aset Kayamas to Tengku Adnan’s Tadmansori Holdings was not disputed.

“The accused owns Tadmansori Holdings being the largest shareholder. Evidence have also been led to show that the accused runs the company and is the primary decision-maker. He is basically the alter ego of the company,” the judge said regarding Tadmansori Holdings and Tengku Adnan being essentially the same.

As for whether the RM2 million was for Tengku Adnan’s benefit or for Umno’s expenses in two by-elections in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar, the judge noted that the “money trail” stopped at Aset Kayamas making the payment to Tadmansori Holdings.

The judge noted that the prosecution showed that Tadmansori Holdings “never had any dealings with Umno”, and that Tengku Adnan’s company did not subsequently channel any of the money to the party.

While noting Chai’s testimony that Tengku Adnan had allegedly asked him to pay RM2 million for Umno, the judge rejected the idea that Umno’s receipt issued to Chai meant the political party had received the RM2 million from Aset Kayamas.

The judge said this was because there was “no evidence” to prove that Umno did receive the RM2 million from Aset Kayamas.

“There was no corresponding payment of RM2 million from Tadmansori to Umno,” the judge said.

“The fact that this receipt was signed by the accused himself has not escaped my observation,” he said, also noting the testimony by Chai and the investigating officer.

“I therefore hold the receipt is not evidence that Umno had received RM2 million from Aset Kayamas. I’m inclined to hold RM2 million benefited the accused and was received without financial consideration,” the judge said.

As for the third element of the accused having given no consideration for the money received, the judge noted that the prosecution in turn showed that Chai’s Aset Kayamas had no business dealings with Tengku Adnan’s Tadmansori Holdings.

“I also find no evidence to show Aset Kayamas, the giver, had received any consideration for the RM2 million that it gave,” he said.

For the fourth and final ingredient of the charge, the judge said this was proven as evidence showed Tengku Adnan clearly knew that property developer Aset Kayamas from which he received the RM2 million had dealings with Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) — a public body that came under his supervision in his “official capacity” as FT minister.

Noting that the dealings were related to DBKL land, the judge said both witness testimonies and documentary evidence showed that Tengku Adnan was “involved from the inception”.

Tengku Adnan was present in court wearing a dark blue checked shirt, while his family members were also seen in court.

Tengku Adnan’s lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan informed the judge that his client will call an estimated five to six defence witnesses, and noted that the prosecution led by deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim had offered four or five witnesses for his client’s defence.

Trial dates of January 10, 17, 20 and 21 in 2020 were fixed for Tengku Adnan to present his defence, with more dates expected to be finalised and scheduled later on.

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