No go for Ku Nan’s bid to disqualify judge in graft case

Former federal minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor today failed in his attempt to disqualify a High Court judge from hearing his RM1 million corruption case.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the former minister had failed to show that he would be biased.

Nazlan had on Tuesday convicted and sentenced businessman Tan Eng Boon, who pleaded guilty to abetting Tengku Adnan, better known as Ku Nan.

But Nazlan said even if this case went before another judge, Eng Boon would give evidence and be subject to cross-examination.

“There is no real danger of bias,” he said. “The application has no merit and is dismissed.”

Nazlan also dismissed Ku Nan’s application to postpone the trial pending his appeal to the Court of Appeal.

“As per Federal Court ruling, a trial cannot be adjourned when it is a public interest case,” he said, adding that such cases must be disposed of expeditiously.

Deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim, in her submission today, said Nazlan could not be accused of bias as Ku Nan had not provided sufficient grounds for this in his affidavit.

“The judge did not go into the facts of the case when Eng Boon pleaded guilty to the amended charge,” she said.

“This is not a trial by jury where lay persons are the triers of facts and can be influenced while the judge decides on law.”

In his affidavit in support of the application, Ku Nan claimed he would not receive a fair trial as Nazlan knew the facts of his case after having sentenced Eng Boon.

The former minister, represented by lawyer Tan Hock Chuan, said the media had also reported that Eng Boon would be one of the prosecution witnesses in his trial while Nazlan had made some adverse remarks in sentencing the businessman.

Nazlan fined Eng Boon RM1.5 million for abetting in a RM1 million bribe to Ku Nan over land deals involving the Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

Eng Boon, 70, pleaded guilty to an amended charge under Section 165 of the Penal Code which carries a two-year jail term, a fine or both upon conviction.

Eng Boon, the director of a property and development company, was accused of giving Ku Nan RM1 million in bribes through a Public Bank cheque belonging to Pekan Nenas Industries Sdn Bhd.

The cheque was deposited into a CIMB Bank account owned by Ku Nan.

The Putrajaya MP meanwhile was charged with receiving the RM1 million payment from Eng Boon to approve an application by Nucleus Properties Sdn Bhd (now known as Paragon City Development Sdn Bhd) to increase the industrial plot ratio of a piece of land on Jalan Semarak.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Putra World Trade Centre CIMB bank branch on Dec 27, 2013.

Ku Nan was charged under Section 24(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act. If convicted, he could be jailed up to 20 years and fined five times the gratification amount.