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10 APRIL 2024

Friday, January 29, 2016

Appeal court hears RM2.6b donation used as ground for acquittal

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's political donation of RM2.6 billion has been used as one of the grounds to apply for the acquittal of former aide to Selangor menteri besar in 2008, Mohd Yahya Mat Sahri, at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya today.
It is a ground used for the first time in a court of law, following a decision by attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali not to prefer any charges against Najib on Tuesday.
Lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon told a three-member bench that Deputy Prime Minister (Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) had last month, in a Parliament Handsard, said that political donations are alright and those taking them should not be penalised.
“In our case involving Mohd Yahya Mat Sahri, the former political aide to the Selangor menteri besar, the political donation was obtained to celebrate 100 days of (Pakatan Rakyat) rule in 2008, where the donor was identified, the recipient political party was identified (PKR) and the donor gave it willingly and testified there is no deception and confusion, and the political party prepared audited accounts.
“The money had never been used, not one sen of money, by my client,” said Manjeet (photo), a former Bar Council chairperson, referring to the RM50,000 donation.
"In the RM2.6 billion donation (to Najib), the donor was never known, purpose of donation ever changing and the donation was never audited. Why the double standards (in the application of the law)."
He asked where is the crime purportedly committed by his client Mohd Sahri, whereby the donor who was the president of the Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd, Abdul Karim Munisar, testified that he was not cheated in giving the RM50,000 to celebrate the 100 days of opposition rule.
"How could my client be charged under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating and convicted, where there is no element of deception, and he had not used the money?
"Clearly the prosecution by the Anti-Corruption Agency in 2008 was intended as a political persecution by the ACA, as the opposition had come to power," Manjeet told the court.
This is the first time a court had heard about Apandi's non-action against Najib used as a ground for an appeal against a conviction.
Mohd Yahya was convicted by the Shah Alam High Court last year and sentenced to two years' jail and two strokes of the rotan for allegedly cheating Abdul Karim.
The former aide to then MB Khalid Ibrahim was first acquitted by the Shah Alam Sessions Court in Oct 2013.
Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim who led the bench deferred the delivering of the decision today and said the verdict will be given in March. This is Mohd Yahya's last chance of appeal.
[More to follow]

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