KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 21 ― Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor was sentenced to imprisonment and a fine by the High Court today after he was found guilty of accepting a RM2 million bribe in his capacity as former Federal Territories minister.

High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, in handing down the punishment, said he had taken into consideration all of the mitigation arguments submitted by the defence and the prosecution, including public interest and that of the accused.

“The punishment prescribed in Section 165 of the Penal Code is for imprisonment up to two years or a fine, or both, if convicted.

“I’m inclined to follow precedents which indicate that a jail sentence is an appropriate punishment.

“I am also of the view that the accused should not be allowed to profit from the wrong that he has committed, which was the RM2 million that I hold he had taken for himself.

“Therefore, the accused is sentenced to 12 months in prison and fined RM2 million in default of six months’ jail,” he said.

In meting out the sentence, Mohamed Zaini said the sentencing trend must also reflect the key considerations of deterrence and public interest.

“The foremost consideration however in deciding the appropriate sentence is the public interest.

“The sentence must reflect the gravity of the offence committed.

“It must also serve as a deterrent to not just the accused, but also others from committing a crime of this nature,” he said.

Mohamed Zaini also pointed out the accused was not the first high-ranking public servant and politician to be charged and convicted under Section 165 of the Penal Code.

“The aphorisms ‘the law is no respecter of persons’ and ‘everyone is equal before the law’ come to mind,” he added.

During mitigation for sentencing, Tengku Adnan’s lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan submitted in court that only a fine of less than RM2,000 without any imprisonment should be imposed to allow his client to retain his parliamentary seat.

Tan also highlighted his client was a first-time offender and the act was not a heinous crime.

Tan also asked for the court to take into account his client’s contribution to the country and his constituents against the fact that the offences were committed in Tengku Adnan’s capacity as a minister at the material time.

He also disclosed Tengku Adnan’s health complications involving the heart and lungs, whereby his client was hypotensive and suffered from lipidemia.

Rebutting Tan, deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim said the RM2,000 fine sought by the defence was absolutely inappropriate for a case of such magnitude involving a public figure.

“The accused is an MP in a position of power and influence whereby his actions are under scrutiny by the public which could set an example as well.

“The court must take into serious account of their position and influence towards the general public, which the court must decide on an appropriate punishment that reflects the court’s displeasure to criminal offence committed not just the general populace but those in power as well,” she said.

She also cited how the accused had claimed the RM2 million bribe was mere pocket change and a RM2,000 fine imposed merely to safeguard the accused’s position as a member of Parliament would not provide an effective deterrent to would-be offenders.

The conviction could also mean an end to Tengku Adnan’s political career in Malaysia, as it jeopardises his chances of participating in the next election and his disqualification as an elected representative.

Tengku Adnan’s charge

Tengku Adnan was charged in his capacity as a public servant, with having received for himself a total of RM2 million from Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong, who is Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd (AKSB) director, via a Hong Leong Islamic Bank cheque belonging to the company which was deposited into a CIMB account owned by Tadmansori Holdings Sdn Bhd (THSB), which Tengku Adnan has an interest in and is known to AKSB as being related to his official duties.

The Putrajaya MP was accused of committing the offence, under Section 165 of the Penal Code, at CIMB Bank Berhad of Pusat Bandar Damansara branch here on June 14, 2016.