PUTRAJAYA: Former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor won his appeal at the Court of Appeal here yesterday to recuse High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali from hearing his ongoing RM1 million corruption trial.
A three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Yaacob Md Sam, Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang and Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail allowed Tengku Adnan’s appeal to set aside Justice Mohd Nazlan’s decision in refusing to recuse himself from hearing the trial.
Justice Yaacob, who led the bench, held that the appeal has merits and warranted the appellate court’s intervention.
He allowed the appeal for Justice Mohd Nazlan to recuse himself from hearing Tengku Adnan’s trial and for the case to be transferred to another court.
He said it is for the new judge to decide whether to start the case afresh or to continue from where Justice Mohd Nazlan had left.
So far, two prosecution witnesses have testified in the trial.
Justice Yaacob set Feb 18 for mention of the case before Justice Mohd Nazlan for him to deal accordingly with the Court of Appeal decision.
It is also the day the trial was scheduled to resumed.
Tengku Adnan was appealing against the decision by Justice Mohd Nazlan on Sept 20 last year, in dismissing his (Tengku Adnan’s) application for the judge (Mohd Nazlan) to recuse himself from hearing his trial.
The Putrajaya Member of Parliament was charged with corruptly receiving for himself RM1 million from businessman Datuk Tan Eng Boon which was deposited into his CIMB Bank account as an inducement to assist the application by Nucleus Properties Sdn Bhd to increase the company’s plot ratio in regard to a development project on Lot 228, Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur.
He also faces an alternative charge in his capacity as the then federal territories minister of receiving for himself RM1 million from Eng Boon via a Public Bank cheque belonging to Pekan Nenas Industries Sdn Bhd which was deposited into his CIMB account, knowing that Eng Boon, as a director of Nucleus Properties Sdn Bhd, had connections with his official duties.
Earlier, Tengku Adnan’s counsel Tan Hock Chuan submitted that Justice Mohd Nazlan ought to have recused himself from hearing the case because he had read and considered the facts of the case of Eng Boon who had pleaded guilty and fined RM1.5 million for abetting Tengku Adnan in the RM1 million graft case.
He said both Tengku Adnan and Eng Boon’s cases were earlier set for joint-trial.
“The High Court judge has some knowledge about the case and certainly the facts are prejudicial to my client and therefore he should not hear the case,” said Hock Chuan.
Deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim argued Justice Mohd Nazlan should not recuse himself from hearing the case as there was no real danger of bias on the part of the judge.
She said the element of the charges faced by Tengku Adnan would have to be proven, adding that the facts of the case which was admitted by Eng Boon would not automatically be accepted as evidence and would have to be proven by calling witnesses.
Julia told the media that she would get instruction from the Attorney-General on whether to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision to the Federal Court. — Bernama