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Ku Nan, who turns 70 today, to know graft charge verdict tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 20): Former federal territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who celebrates his 70th birthday today, is going to step into the corridors of the world's second largest court complex tomorrow to know his fate on a RM2 million graft charge.

High Court Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan will deliver his verdict on whether the Barisan Nasional (BN) secretary-general is guilty of the charge under Section 165 of the Penal Code or acquit him.

Tengku Adnan, or Ku Nan as he is also known, has been accused of receiving kickbacks totalling RM2 million from Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd (AKSB) managing director Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong during his term as the federal territories minister.

The Putrajaya member of Parliament (MP) allegedly received the amount via a Hong Leong Islamic Bank cheque, which was deposited on June 14, 2016 into a CIMB account owned by Tadmansori Holdings Sdn Bhd, in which Ku Nan has an interest and is said to be related to his official duties.

The Putrajaya MP was charged under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which carries a jail term of up to two years or a fine, or both, upon conviction.

If convicted, he would be the latest BN politician to be convicted under this Section of the Penal Code, with the last being former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

The prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Julia Ibrahim, previously said in her opening statement that the prosecution would prove that Chai on Jan 27, 2015 handed over a letter of Proposal for Land Acquisition for a project to build houses that cost below RM200,000 each, together with apartments, on land measuring 4.05 acres in Bandar Tun Razak here to Tengku Adnan, who approved it.

In return, Ku Nan, who was also federal territories BN chairman, asked Chai to contribute to the political party's campaign for two by-elections — Kuala Kangsar, Perak and Sungai Besar, Selangor — following the demise of their incumbents, Datuk Noriah Kasnon and Datuk Wan Mohammad Khairil Anuar Wan Ahmad, in a helicopter crash on May 5, 2016.

The prosecution has called 23 witnesses to testify, and both the prosecution and the defence have submitted over 80 items — including AKSB's application documents to develop Federal Territory Affordable Housing, a RM2 million cheque, bank statements, UMNO annual statements, and documents on the estimated expenditure for the two by-elections.

Among the witnesses called were former Kuala Lumpur mayors Tan Sri Ahmad Phesal Talib and Tan Sri Mohd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz, as well as AKSB's Chai.

On June 30 this year, the defence — led by counsel Datuk Tan Hock Chuan — closed its case after calling four witnesses to testify over four days from March 4, with Tengku Adnan being called as the first defence witness.

The other defence witnesses called were Ku Nan's former political secretary Datuk Mohd Rafi Alli Hassan, Simpang Renggam UMNO division chief Datuk Zakaria Dullah, and former Sungai Besar by-election machinery director Datuk Rizalman Mokhtar.

On Dec 7, Tengku Adnan was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) by another High Court judge, Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, in the politician's graft charge in his RM1 million corruption trial, following an appeal for the order by prosecutors, who cited that new developments in the case warranted further investigation.

That decision marked the third high-profile discharge after the granting of a DNAA to Riza Aziz for money laundering involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd funds in May, and the June discharge and acquittal of Sabah former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman of 46 corruption and money laundering charges relating to timber concessions.

Prior to that DNAA, Ku Nan grabbed headlines in September when he settled with the Inland Revenue Board after being prosecuted for not paying more than RM57 million in tax arrears. The amount and terms of settlement, however, were not disclosed.

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