The Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur today ordered former Sabah infrastructure development minister Peter Anthony to enter his defence on a charge of falsifying a letter from the office of the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) deputy vice-chancellor for a system maintenance contract at the university in 2014.
Judge Azura Alwi made the decision after finding that the prosecution had succeeded in proving a prima facie case against Peter, 50, at the end of the prosecution’s case.
The court fixed Jan 3 to 7 next year for the hearing.
Peter was charged as the managing director of Syarikat Asli Jati with having falsified a letter from the office of UMS deputy vice-chancellor dated June 9, 2014, by inserting a false statement with the intention to cheat.
The offence was allegedly committed at the office of the prime minister’s principal private secretary at the Federal Government Administrative Centre, Putrajaya, between June 13 and Aug 21, 2014.
The charge was framed under Section 468 of the Penal Code for forging a document for the purpose of cheating, which provides for imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine upon conviction.
He also faces an alternative charge of using a false document as genuine, namely the letter from the office of the deputy vice-chancellor of UMS dated June 9, 2014, which had a false statement in the title of the letter.
He was charged with committing the offence at the same place and time.
The charge was made under Section 471 of the Penal Code and is punishable under Section 465 of the same law for forgery with imprisonment of up to two years, a fine, or both upon conviction.
The court ordered Peter to defend himself on the charge of forging the letter.
“The court is satisfied that the prosecution has succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against you (Peter Anthony) under Section 468 of the Penal Code for committing forgery by inserting a false statement in the title of the letter of the office of the UMS deputy vice-chancellor as charged.
“Therefore, you are ordered to defend yourself,” said the judge.
Peter has three options: to testify under oath; to give testimony from the dock while not under oath, where he cannot be cross-examined; or to remain quiet.
After the court interpreter explained his options, Peter said he would testify under oath from the witness stand.
Lawyer Munawar Kabir Mohd Zainal Abidin, representing Peter, told the court that the defence would call seven witnesses, including those offered by the prosecution.
The prosecution closed its case on Sept 21 after calling 15 witnesses, including former prime minister Najib Razak, former treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and former chief justice Zaki Azmi.