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KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor today suggested that the RM2 million amount which he is accused of taking as a bribe in 2016 was equivalent to the amount of pocket change for him, while also alleging that the prosecution of this case against him was unfair.
Tengku Adnan was testifying in his own defence in this bribery trial over businessman and housing developer Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong’s RM2 million cheque that was deposited in his company Tadmansori Holdings Sdn Bhd, and continued to assert today that the RM2 million was Chai’s political donation to Federal Territories Umno for use in the 2016 by-elections of Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar.
Yesterday, Tengku Adnan’s wealth was publicly disclosed, after he confirmed in court to having made declarations to three different prime ministers of the value of his total assets in 2001 at over RM938 million, over RM711 million (2006), over RM691 million (2013), and finally at over RM782 million in 2016.
Today, Tengku Adnan maintained that he had independently funded the operations of Federal Territories Umno and Barisan Nasional by either using his own money or by seeking donations, noting that he had in fact asked Chai for more than RM2 million donations for the 2016 by-elections.
“Before elections, Yang Arif, in fact I asked for more, because being the chief of Umno Wilayah and BN (Wilayah), I never asked money from my president or Umno headquarters. I stand on my own, sometimes I used my own money, sometimes I get friends to give some donations for funds. It’s all meant for political funds.
“And Yang Arif, there’s a lot of things which I cannot disclose because certain amount we collect, we don’t book in because of political funds. There are things which we can say, and things which we cannot say, because of politics, Yang Arif,” he told the High Court today.
Tengku Adnan also maintained that he had as an election candidate always spent within the limits allowed under the law during the campaign period, but said that he does not declare expenditure made either before or after the campaign period.
“In my case, have I collected any money from my president? No, you can see, I stand on my own. Sometimes you can see even my declaration of assets, it’s been reduced. Why it’s been reduced nobody asks. Because I spend money on my political things,” he said, confirming that he also finds his “own ways” to fund party expenses.
Asked if he was in good standing with his party bosses as they did not need to assist him in funding, Tengku Adnan questioned why he needed to be in their good books, asserting that he had joined politics merely to help the public.
He also claimed the prosecution had portrayed the RM2 million funds to be related to the Rumawip affordable housing programme while noting that he had asked Chai to provide housing units at a subsidised price to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) employees which he said would mean financial losses to the developer.
“The way you said, I take this money for corruption purpose,” he said during cross-examination by the prosecution’s deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim.
Julia however then noted that Tengku Adnan’s charge under Section 165 of the Penal Code concerned the offence of a public servant obtaining any valuable thing — without consideration or sufficient consideration — from a person who has connections to official functions of the public servant, but Tengku Adnan downplayed RM2 million as something he did not consider valuable.
Julia: The charge against you, something valuable. RM2 million is not valuable to you perhaps?
Tengku Adnan: Not perhaps. Not valuable...RM2 million, my pocket money.
Julia: Perhaps valuable to someone.
Tengku Adnan: I don’t know, God knows.
Tengku Adnan later disagreed that the RM2 million was used for his own purpose or that it was a gift to him, insisting that it was a donation by Chai for Umno’s expenses.
“This is a political donation, used for political purposes, it’s not used as a hadiah (gift) to me or anybody. No, no, because it’s not a hadiah, why should I report to the prime minister?” he asked, in reply to a question on whether he had reported his receiving of the RM2 million sum to the prime minister while he was in Cabinet.
He was earlier referred to the code of ethics for members of the administration, which requires the reporting of gifts received by them to the prime minister if they doubt the value of the gift matches the intention it was given for.
Tengku Adnan insisted that he had merely taken back the RM2 million when Chai paid him, as he had advanced the same amount earlier for Umno’s by-election expenses.
He disagreed that the RM2 million from Chai would have been deposited into Federal Territories Umno’s account instead if it had actually been used for the by-election, saying: “I disagree because you don’t know how we operate or how we spend the money. Cash.”
Earlier, Tengku Adnan also claimed the prosecution was being unfair to him by continuing to pursue this case against him when it had dropped a case brought under the same Section 165 against an individual he named as “former finance minister”.
At one point when asked about his claim of alleged “irrelevant charges” being brought against him, Tengku Adnan responded by questioning why a Section 165 case against “the former finance minister” was withdrawn.
“Because it’s not being fair...you talk to the press, you are discriminating me, you tarnish me. You wait for a while. It’s not fair, then you talk something else,” he said.
“What I’m trying to say here is because if your AGC can drop the same case against the finance minister, why are you putting the case against [me]?” he asked.
Julia had then urged him to remain calm and he agreed to do so.
At another point, Tengku Adnan protested at the prosecution’s description of the RM2 million as being an “alleged” political donation, arguing that the word “alleged” implied that he had instead took it as a bribe.
“As if you have put that I took the money for bribe, the way you said,” Tengku Adnan said, but Julia said she did not describe it in that manner.
Amid Tengku Adnan’s occasional protests while answering questions, Julia calmly continued to ask her questions and to clarify what the politician meant with his remarks.
Today, Tengku Adnan had also said Umno does not keep records of political donations, and also disagreed that Umno kept the records of all his cash advances to the political party.
Tengku Adnan also denied that a 2016 receipt purportedly issued to Chai for the RM2 million “political donation” was forged after Tengku Adnan’s November 2018 arrest, despite the purported receipt’s serial number being between two receipts dated 2018 in the receipt book.
Tengku Adnan’s trial before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues this afternoon, with his lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan to ask him further questions.