Ex-Ministry Sec-Gen and Son Jailed, Fined for Bribery over Rural Solar Projects

931
- Advertisement -

Former Rural and Regional Development Ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohd Arif Ab Rahman and his son Ahmad Zukhairi have been found guilty of corruption.

  • Father facing 3 years, son 5 years in jail
  • Allegedly, the duo has no ability to pay RM3m and RM9m fines respectively
  • In default of paying fines, another 3 years’ jail for father, 10 years for son
  • Bail raised from RM200k to RM500k

Mohd Arif was sentenced to three years’ jail and fined RM3 million, in default of three years’ jail by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for abetting his eldest son in accepting a SG$200,000 (RM627,833) bribe.

Nazir Sufari/Malaysiakini

Meanwhile, his 36-year-old son Ahmad Zukhairi was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined a total of RM9.6 million in default of 10 years’ jail, after he was found guilty of four counts of soliciting and accepting bribes.

Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi said in her ruling that there was overwhelming evidence against the two.

“The defence has failed to give an honest explanation that can be accepted by the court, thus failed to raise a reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case,” she said on Wednesday (Nov 14).

On the issue of alibi, Azura said the statement from Ahmad Zukhairi’s wife, who was a defence witness failed to convince.

“His wife did not give a trustworthy statement from the witness dock,” she added.

The duo’s lawyer Afifuddin Hafifih asked for leniency, saying neither had the ability to pay the fines imposed on them.

Mohd Arif, 61, was charged with abetting his son by accepting SG$200,000 from Syarikat Wazlina Sdn Bhd director Mohd Safian Mohd Salleh.

The bribe was an inducement for a hybrid solar system project in four remote islands off Sandakan, Sabah, worth RM57.5 million which was awarded to Syarikat Eramaz (M) Sdn Bhd, an associate company of Syarikat Wazlina.

Ahmad Zukhairi was charged with accepting the money from the same person for himself and his father.

Intan Nur Elliana Zakaria

He was also charged with soliciting a two percent commission from Mohd Safian, as a bribe to assist Eramaz in securing the Solar Hybrid Rural Electricity Supply project to six islands in Sandakan, Sabah, worth RM60 million.

He had allegedly solicited the commission (RM1.2 million) for his father, who was still serving as the secretary-general then, and himself at Grand Dorsett Hotel in Subang Jaya between 5pm and 9pm on March 17, 2016.

For the third offence, Ahmad Zukhairi accepted RM70,000 from Zul Fadli Rozi at Permai Golf and Country Club in Kota Kemuning, Section 31, Shah Alam, between 8am and 2pm Aug 18, 2016.

The payment was for assisting HH Global Construction Sdn Bhd to acquire a RM3.2 million project to construct a three-tier recreational square and related works at Persisiran Tasik Pengkalan Gawi, Tasik Kenyir in Terengganu.

Ahmad Zukhairi committed the fourth offence by accepting another RM50,000 from Zul Fadli Rozi for the same purpose at Garden Course Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Shah Alam in Sept 2016.

Ahmad Zukhairi was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for the first offence, three years for the second, and two years for the third and fourth offences, respectively.

His jail sentences will run concurrently.

Afifuddin asked the court to grant a stay of execution on the sentence pending an appeal.

DPP Irwan Shah Abdul Samat objected on grounds that there was no special circumstances faced by the accused.

Judge Azura, however, granted a stay of execution on both jail time and fine.

She also ordered for the bail to be raised from RM200,000 to RM500,000 in one surety each.

Their passports remain in the court’s custody.

Afifuddin told reporters later that he will be filing a notice of appeal on behalf of his clients on Wednesday.