KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution has failed to prove that former Labuan MP Rozman Isli abused his power to secure an employment contract for a company in which his father and brother were minority shareholders, the sessions court heard today.
Lawyer Rafique Rashid Ali said the Labuan Port Authority made a collective decision to extend the contract to Labuan Liberty Port Management Sdn Bhd (LLPM).
“To attract an offence under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, one must in the first place have power to abuse,” he said in his submission before trial judge Rozina Ayob today.
The lawyer used Najib Razak’s SRC International case as an illustration, pointing out that Najib was at the time the prime minister, finance minister and de facto director of SRC.
He said no Cabinet members had vetoed Najib who wanted to approve a government guarantee to SRC to secure a loan from a retirement fund.
Likewise, all board members of the port authority gave evidence that there was no coercion or force used by the accused to influence them to allow LLPM to continue as the Labuan port operator.
“The accused need not be called to answer the charge when it is clear that a collective decision was made,” he said.
Rafique, who was assisted by Nur Mustanir Nor, said LLPM’s board members had confirmed that Rozman only had the Labuan public’s interests at heart.
He said Rozman’s father and brother only held 1.04% equity in the company, which was the lowest among shareholders.
He said the prosecution’s failure to call then port authority chairman Wee Jeck Seng as a witness had deprived the defence the opportunity to cross-examine him.
“An adverse inference and in favour of the accused should be drawn (against the prosecution) for not calling the chairman,” he said.
Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Feisal Azmi said Rozman was in a position of influence as he was the port authority’s deputy chairman at the time.
“He took part in the decision-making process which saw the port give the contract to LLPM,” he said.
Feisal said the port authority’s development and investment committee had already proposed to appoint LP Multi-Terminal Sdn Bhd.
“However, the accused at the March 23, 2018 board meeting proposed that the appointment of LP Multi-Terminal be deferred as it would adversely affect him as MP for Labuan,” he said.
This was because Rozman took the position that LLPM, a Labuan-based company, had done a lot of good work for the local committee.
He said LLPM was subsequently allowed to be the port operator until 2020.
Feisal said four port authority members had also testified that Rozman never declared his interest in LLPM nor did he leave the meeting room when a decision needed to be made.
“There is a presumption under the MACC Act that he abused his power for gratification,” he said.
Feisal, who was assisted by DPP Siti Amirah Ali, also said the prosecution had made Wee available to testify for the defence.
“We have established the ingredients of the charge and the accused should enter defence,” he said.
Rozman, 59, served as MP from 2013 until November last year.
He is charged as an official of a public body with using his position to obtain gratification for LLPM, in which his father and younger brother had an interest.
The alleged offence was said to have been committed at a meeting room at the transport ministry in Putrajaya on March 21, 2018.
Rozina will deliver her ruling on May 30.