KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Former minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor lashed out in the High Court today after the judge refused his application to keep details of his asset declarations when he had been in the federal government from public scrutiny.
Earlier this afternoon, the High Court ruled that the details of Tengku Adnan’s assets while he was in Cabinet must not be heard privately before just the judge and lawyers, as the trial has to be done transparently for it to be seen as conducted fairly.
Tengku Adnan is currently on trial for allegedly receiving a bribe of RM2 million from a businessman, with Tengku Adnan’s lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan this morning explaining that it was necessary to present the details of Tengku Adnan’s past asset declarations to the prime minister to show that he did not need to take the RM2 million for himself as he was already a wealthy man.
After the court’s rejection of his bid to not have his assets publicly heard in the trial, the Umno leader commonly called Ku Nan was questioned by his own lawyer and subsequently by the prosecution.
While being questioned by the prosecution, Tengku Adnan suddenly burst out angrily.
The prosecution’s deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim had suggested to Tengku Adnan that he was only giving his personal opinion with his previous allegation in his witness statement, where he had claimed “irrelevant charges” were being framed against him due to his senior party position and as he was thought to be the funder of Umno and Barisan Nasional and that his destruction would lead to those parties’ ruination.
“Nope, I don’t think it’s my personal opinion. I don’t agree this is my personal opinion,” Tengku Adnan replied just before his angry outburst.
“I disagree, yeah, same thing with today, yeah. When I say I don’t want to declare myself, because publicly you know why. Because now I have a problem with nearly a billion assets. Because they feel they want to sensationalise, that’s why I feel I have been deprived,” he then continued saying in angry protest.
The court then stood down briefly, with Tengku Adnan seen leaving the witness stand where he was testifying in his own defence with a red face.
Following the brief stand down this afternoon after Tengku Adnan’s abrupt outburst, Tan suggested that the trial resume tomorrow morning instead of proceeding further today, with the prosecution also saying it had no objections to continuing tomorrow.
Tengku Adnan’s trial before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan resumes tomorrow morning, with Tengku Adnan set to continue testifying as a defence witness in his own defence.
The total value of Tengku Adnan’s assets that he had disclosed to the prime minister in the past were revealed publicly in court today when asked by his lawyer. His lawyer had asked him to confirm these details before the prosecution started its cross-examination and asking him questions.
Before the outburst
Following the court’s rejection for a private hearing or in camera hearing of the asset details, Tan then said he would ask Tengku Adnan limited details about the asset declarations. (This was before the prosecution started questioning Tengku Adnan.)
When asked by Tan, Tengku Adnan confirmed that he had declared to the prime minister in 2001 that he had total assets valued at RM938,643,566.16 or over RM938 million, and that he had made similar asset declarations in 2006 of his total assets being worth RM711,325,822 or over RM711 million, and in 2013 at RM691,770,649 or over RM691 million, and finally at RM782,748,061 or over RM782 million in 2016.
Tengku Adnan confirmed these figures as stated in the written asset declarations that he had made to three different prime ministers, namely Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2001, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2006, and Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2013 and 2016.
Tan did not ask Tengku Adnan about any other details in his written asset declarations, and had limited the questions to just the value of his total assets declared in those four years.
Previously, Tengku Adnan had in his witness statement — in his own defence in this trial — stated that he was asked to make a declaration of assets to the prime minister in 2001 when he joined the Cabinet for the first time as a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
“At that time, I had already owned very substantial assets,” he had previously said, repeating the same when previously explaining he was asked to make similar asset declarations when he was appointed as tourism minister in 2006 and when appointed in 2013 to the post of federal territories minister and also in 2016 while holding the same post which he continued to hold until May 2018.
Tengku Adnan had previously in his witness statement also said that he did not need the RM2 million for himself, further stating in the witness statement: “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.”
Today, Tengku Adnan denied that the RM2 million cheque which businessman Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong made out to his company Tadmansori Holdings was related to himself, asserting that it was a political donation for Umno’s use in two by-elections in 2016.
Tan: Now I would like to ask you regarding the RM2 million from Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong, was this sum of RM2 million from Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong connected in any way to your official function as minister of federal territories?
Tengku Adnan: No.
Tan: What was this sum of RM2 million for?
Tengku Adnan: It was a political donation which I have asked from him and he agreed to give RM2 million political donation. And I also advanced money first to run the two by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar.
Tengku Adnan had earlier today said that he had as the Federal Territories Umno chief used his own money first for Umno’s by-election expenses before Chai’s political donation to the political party for the by-election was ready.
Earlier this morning when asked why Chai’s RM2 million cheque was subsequently not issued to Umno but to Tadmansori Holdings, Tengku Adnan explained that he usually advances his money to his own company Tadmansori Holdings and that he viewed Chai’s cheque to his company as another one of his own advances to the company.