At corruption trial, Tengku Adnan explains why businessman gave RM2m ‘donation’ in cheque and not cash

Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court March 4, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court March 4, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 ― Umno treasurer Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor explained today why businessman Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong issued a RM2 million cheque purportedly for “political donation” to his company Tadmansori Holdings and not in cash directly to the party.

Tengku Adnan, who is testifying in his own defence in his bribery trial, was explaining about the RM2 million that he alleged Chai meant to donate to Umno for its expenses in the June 2016 by-elections of Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar.

His lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan asked him why the businessman had used a cheque to channel the donation, instead of using cash.

“Tan Sri informed me that it’s very difficult to get cash. So anyway, I already advanced my money for the by-elections. I advanced the money to my own company, that’s why I said, you can give me a cheque but write it to Tadmansori Holdings,” Tengku Adnan replied today in court.

When prodded, Tengku Adnan said Chai chose to use a cheque as the businessman could not provide the RM2 million in cash.

Tan: Why was it cheque?

Tengku Adnan: He couldn’t get cash, it’s difficult to get cash.

Tan: Are you saying it’s difficult to get cash in a short space of time?

Tengku Adnan: Yes.

When asked further by Tan on why Chai had made out the cheque’s recipient to be Tengku Adnan’s company, Tengku Adnan claimed that this was an advance of his own funds to his company as he had allegedly used his own money before Chai’s donation was ready.

Tan: Then my next question, the cheque. Why was the cheque issued in favour of Tadmansori Holdings Sdn Bhd and not Umno, for example?

Tengku Adnan: As I have said earlier, that I agreed with Tan Sri KK Chai, I’ll advance the money first, I’ll advance my own money first to operate the by-elections. And I know the money is coming later, so I always advance money to my own company also ― Tadmansori Holdings, that’s why I’ve asked him to bank in into Tadmansori Holdings’ account, as my advance to the company actually.

Previously, Tengku Adnan said he had as chairman of Federal Territories Umno and Federal Territories Barisan Nasional needed to raise funds for use in the two by-elections, and that he had in early June 2016 told Chai that Federal Territories Umno and BN needed about RM5 million for the by-elections and had asked Chai for a donation.

Tengku Adnan previously said Chai promised to make a donation and later informed him that he agreed to donate RM2 million to Umno for the by-election expenses but would need time to raise funds.

Tengku Adnan also said previously that political donations were generally in cash due to the need to pay for election campaign expenses, but noted Chai had given him a cheque instead due to the difficulty in raising cash in a short time.

Tengku Adnan previously said he had asked Chai to write the RM2 million cheque out to Tadmansori Holdings as he had already used his own money first for Umno’s campaign and related by-election expenses.

Tengku Adnan had said that Chai had been making donations to Umno and BN since he was appointed Umno chief secretary in 1999, while also insisting that he had never intended to receive the RM2 million for himself and that he did not need the RM2 million as he was already a successful businessman before joining the Cabinet.

“Before I joined the Cabinet in 2001 upon the request of the then prime minister, I was a successful businessman. I was involved in various businesses namely real estate, logging, manufacturing, trading, agricultural, hotel, livestock and food businesses,” Tengku Adnan had previously said in his witness statement.

Today, Tengku Adnan’s lawyer Tan informed the court that he will be applying for part of the trial proceedings involving further questions on the former minister’s assets to be heard in camera or in private before the judge without the public and media being present.

“As I have indicated previously, the defence would like to apply for this part of the proceedings, for additional questions relating to paragraphs 87 to 90 of D87 (Tengku Adnan’s witness statement) and the four declaration of assets to be heard in camera.

“We have cases to say when in camera, whatever transpires in camera, cannot be disseminated, cannot be heard in public, whatever is in camera cannot be disseminated to the public as well,” he said.

The asset declarations were in 2001, 2006, 2013 and 2016 to the prime minister when Tengku Adnan was in Cabinet.

The prosecution objected to this application for in camera proceedings on the asset details.

Later this afternoon, High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan rejected the application for the proceedings on details regarding Tengku Adnan’s assets to be heard in camera, citing the need for transparency to allow for both a fair trial and for the trial to be seen as being conducted fairly.

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