Corruption trial of ex-Malaysian minister begins, as another former Umno leader lands in court

Former powerful Malaysian Cabinet minister, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, is accused of accepting bribes to approve projects under his ministry. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - The trial of a former powerful Malaysian Cabinet minister, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, started on Tuesday (July 2), with the accused charged with accepting bribes to approve projects under his ministry.

Tengku Adnan, 68, was the Federal Territories Minister under the Najib Razak administration, and also the ex-secretary-general of then ruling party Umno.

Approvals for projects in the three Malaysian federal territories - the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, administrative capital Putrajaya, and Malaysia's sole offshore financial centre Labuan - were generally under his ministry's purview.

Tengku Adnan was charged with accepting a RM2 million (S$650,000) bribe from property developer Aset Kayamas's director Chai Kin Kong on June 14, 2016, Bernama news agency reported.

Tengku Adnan is also facing a charge of accepting a bribe of RM1 million from businessman Tan Eng Boon to approve an application by a company to raise the plot ratio related to a project in Kuala Lumpur in 2013.

The former minister has pleaded not guilty to both charges filed at the High Court.

He is the third-highest-profile Umno politician to face corruption charges since the fall of the Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalition last year.

Former Umno president Najib is facing 42 charges of corruption, money laundering and abuse of power in relation to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and its former subsidiary SRC International.

The SRC trial is ongoing and the 1MDB trial is slated to begin in August.

Current Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been charged with 87 counts of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering linked to his family-run foundation Yayasan Akal Budi and the operator of a foreign visa system Ultra Kirana.

A fourth former top Umno leader, Isa Samad, who was a party vice-president and ex-Cabinet minister, has also been charged with corruption.

He is facing one count of criminal breach of trust and nine for corruption involving the inflated purchase price of a Kuching hotel when he was chairman of a government agency, the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) in 2014.

The case will be heard in October.

Najib, Zahid and Isa have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In the Tengku Adnan trial on Tuesday so far, two witnesses have testified that he was the majority shareholder of a company called Tadmansori Holdings that received RM2 million in its bank account in 2016.

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