Former Malaysian minister's RM2 million graft conviction overturned

The Kuala Lumpur High Court had sentenced former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Mansor to 12 months in jail and imposed an RM2 million fine on him last year. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PUTRAJAYA - Former minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has been acquitted of corruption charges after Malaysia's Court of Appeal on Friday (July 16) set aside his conviction in December.

A senior politician in former ruling party Umno, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan was in December sentenced by the High Court to 12 months' jail and fined RM2 million (S$645,000) for receiving for himself RM2 million from a businessman in 2016, while he was a public servant.

Justice Suraya Othman, who led the three-judge bench in the appellate court, said on Friday the trial judge failed to take into consideration evidence provided by the businessman, Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong, and investigating officer Muhammad Saad Bordani, who both said the RM2 million given to Tengku Adnan was a political donation.

She said the prosecution also failed to re-examine Mr Chai on this evidence and made no suggestions that Mr Chai was dishonest or untruthful, reported the Malay Mail Online.

"Further, in his grounds for judgment, the learned High Court judge had not directed his mind on the failure of the prosecution to at least re-examine Chai during cross-examination that the money was a political donation for Umno.

"We find that such a failure on such a critical point amounted to a non-direction which rendered the conviction unsafe," she said, according to the Malay Mail.

Both she and Datuk Ahmad Nasfy Yasin agreed that Tengku Adnan should be acquitted, while the third judge Abu Bakar Jais dissented.

"I agree with the trial judge finding that the accused had received the cheque for himself and not for political donations for Umno as he asserted. It was not issued to Umno, it was issued to Tadmansori," Datuk Abu Bakar said, referring to the company which received the payment and is majority-owned by Tengku Adnan.

Mr Chai, a director of property developer Aset Kayamas, was said to be interested in affordable housing projects in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Tengku Adnan, 70, was at the time federal territories minister under the Barisan Nasional (BN) government led by Najib Razak.

Several high-profile graft cases involving millions of ringgit were launched against senior Umno leaders after BN lost the 2018 general election, including against Najib for offences related to state fund 1MDB and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

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