Lawyers defending former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor in his corruption case told the High Court in Kuala Lumpur today that the RM2 million given by a businessman was a political donation for the by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar, and not for the accused himself.
Tan Hock Chuan, who is leading the defence team, said this was revealed in the witness statement of prosecution witness Chai Kin Kong, the director of Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd (AKSB).
In his statement, Chai said he wrote the RM2 million cheque as a political donation to Umno for expenses incurred in the 2016 by-elections.
“It is very important to note that Chai, who is also the 19th prosecution witness (SP19), was not re-examined by the prosecution on his evidence that the sum of RM2 million was a political donation and not for the accused.
“Failure by the prosecution to re-examine this issue amounts to an acceptance of the witness’s testimony,” Tan said, adding that the prosecution had failed to prove the charge against Tengku Adnan beyond reasonable doubt.
Tan, who made the argument at the end of the defence case, said SP6 – Tadmansori Holdings Sdn Bhd group CEO Mohd Hasbi Jaafar – had said in his testimony that he too was informed by Tengku Adnan that the money was a political donation.
“Hasbi said he received a WhatsApp text from the accused showing the deposit slip of the RM2 million from Aset Kayamas to Tadmansori.
“He was told by the accused that the RM2 million cheque was a political donation for the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections,” he said.
Tan said SP23, investigating officer Muhammad Saad Bordani, also confirmed that Chai and Tengku Adnan had informed him when their statements were recorded that the RM2 million was a political donation for Umno’s expenses in the two by-elections.
Tan urged the court to accept the evidence brought by Tengku Adnan as well as SD2 Mohd Rafi Alli Hassan, SD3 Rizalman Mokhtar and SD4 Zakaria Dullah.
“This means that there was in fact a cash advance from the accused and the money was spent for the two by-elections. The accused advanced his own money after he earmarked the political donation from Chai to be used for this purpose,” he said.
Tan also argued that the banking of the cheque into the account of Tadmansori Holdings did not necessarily mean that Tengku Adnan had committed the offence.
“In this case, the prosecution’s case is founded on the basis that the cheque was banked into the account of Tadmansori. This is insufficient to convict the accused as it is circumstantial evidence which does not point irresistibly to the guilt of the accused,” he said.
He also said there was no dispute that the RM2 million cheque was deposited into Tadmansori’s account.
“If the accused had accepted the RM2 million cheque for himself, it is very unlikely that he would deposit the cheque into the account of Tadmansori as the payment could be easily traced. This was an open transaction which negated any criminal intent for the payment,” he said.
He likewise asked the court to consider Tengku Adnan’s financial means which were not challenged by the prosecution, in support of his claim that he did not have the means to commit the offence.
“On the contrary, the accused frequently used his own money to make financial contributions to Barisan Nasional and Umno, which was supported by the evidence of SD2, SD3 and SD4.
“According to SD3 and SD4, the money which was handed over to them by the accused totalling RM2,020,800 was all spent in the said by-elections for carrying out campaigning for the candidates,” he said.
Tengku Adnan, 69, also known as Ku Nan, was charged in his capacity as a public servant with accepting for himself RM2 million from Chai via a Hong Leong Islamic Bank cheque belonging to AKSB, which was later deposited into the CIMB Bank account of Tadmansori Holdings in which he had an interest, when it was known that Aset Kayamas had connection with his official duties.
The offence was allegedly committed at the Pusat Bandar Damansara branch of CIMB Bank Bhd on June 14, 2016.
The Putrajaya MP was charged under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which provides for a jail term of up to two years, a fine, or both upon conviction.
On Oct 14 last year, the High Court ordered Tengku Adnan to enter his defence. Tengku Adnan chose to testify under oath from the witness stand when the defence proceedings commenced on Jan 17 and completed giving his evidence on March 5.
The defence will continue their submission on Sept 18 before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.