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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Appellate court upholds Khir Toyo's guilty verdict

The Court of Appeal today upheld the guilty verdict meted out to former Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo for a graft charge in relation to his acquisition of two lots of valuable land and a house in Shah Alam, while being a public servant.

The decision by the appellate court, led by Justice Abu Samah Nordin, was unanimous. The other judges were Justices Azahar Mohamed and Aziah Ali.

Justice Azahar, in reading the judgment, said they find that there is no need to disturb the decision by Shah Alam High Court judge Mohtaruddin Baki (now Court of Appeal judge) when he rejected all grounds of appeal applied by Khir's lawyers.

"Based on the appeal records, we are satisfied to reject the appeal as we felt that the appellant should be found guilty as charged.

“The trial judge was right to convict the accused of the charge beyond reasonable doubt," he said.

Khir was represented by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

The High Court had, on Dec 23, 2011, sentenced Khir to 12 months' jail and forfeiture of said property.

The Court of Appeal is now hearing the sentencing.

Khir is the second Selangor menteri besar who has been convicted of graft after Harun Idris.

Although the defence had cited 33 grounds of appeal, the court had consolidated all of them to six points, namely:
  • The question of whether he was a public servant;
  • Whether the payment of RM3.5 million to purchase the property was at the market price;
  • Whether he has ties with Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Hayroni;
  • Whether Shamsuddin had been a partner in crime;
  • The credibility of contractor Nasir Ismail; and
  • Whether Khir's defence was feasible.
In all questions, Azahar replied that the High Court judge was right in his findings of the fact that Khir was a public servant - being the ex-state MB and former Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) chairperson - and that the court was satisfied with the credibility of Shamsuddin who sold the house to Khir, along with Nasir being the contractor who had renovated the property.

"Khir had shown interest in the aforementioned property before Shamsuddin sold it to him, as he even paid in advance for the renovation costs," said Azahar.

"The RM3.5 million is not a fair and reasonable amount to purchase, as Shamsuddin had earlier purchased the property at RM5.5 million several years earlier," he added.

Hence, Justice Azahar said it was necessary for the Court of Appeal to disturb the findings of the High Court judge.

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