Judge says national interests outweigh Ku Nan’s fears on assets being made public
V Anbalagan -December 26, 2020 1:15 PM
KUALA LUMPUR: Tengku Adnan Mansor’s application to have proceedings heard in camera pertaining to his family assets was refused as it would be contrary to the interests of justice, the High Court said.
Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, in his written judgment, said he was mindful that Tengku Adnan, who is also known as Ku Nan, was a former minister whose case had garnered public interest which made it important for proceedings to be done transparently.
“The public has a right to hear what the court hears, and see what the court sees.
“This way, the public would be able to appreciate any decision reached by the court and not be kept guessing due to evidence being kept out of public knowledge,” Zaini said.
Tengku Adnan had, during the trial, requested that the proceedings be held in camera as he was apprehensive about the safety of his family should the extent of his assets be known publicly.
During cross-examination by deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim, he denied that the RM2 million “political donation” from businessman Chai Kin Kong was for his personal benefit.
The accused instead said the amount was not a big deal, likening it to “pocket money” for him.
He said before he joined the Cabinet in 2001, he was a successful businessman and was involved in various enterprises, such as real estate, logging, manufacturing, trading, agriculture, hotel, livestock and food.
After Zaini declined to hear the matter in camera, Tengku Adnan opted not to tender the declarations as defence exhibits.
He, however, orally testified that he had declared over RM900 million in assets to the three former prime ministers he had served.
Zaini said the declarations, as rightly pointed out by the prosecution, did not come under any known category of secret or confidential information.
“It may expose the wealth of the accused to the public but that was a move that he would need to consider for himself if declarations were meant to help him in his defence,” he said.
Zaini said Section 15 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 clearly stated that it must be expedient in the interest of public safety, public security and property, and not that of an individual.
The public’s right to access the trial outweighed the concerns of the accused, he added.
On Monday, the 70-year-old Putrajaya MP was sentenced to a year’s jail and fined RM2 million after he was found guilty of the offence under Section 165 of the Penal Code.
Zaini also said the money was collected without the knowledge of Umno headquarters but was kept in a bank account of Tadmansori Holdings Sdn Bhd, a company the accused has an interest in.