Despite Graft Conviction, Tengku Adnan Avoids Jail After High Court Grants Stay of Execution Pending Appeal

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Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has successfully obtained a stay of execution for his sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment and a RM2 million fine as imposed by the High Court today.

Highlights of the sentencing:

  • Tengku Adnan used Tadmansori Holdings to enjoy the fruit of crime
  • No evidence money was used for two by-elections
  • Tengku Adnan should not be allowed to profit from the RM2 million taken for himself, hence the RM2 million fine

Earlier today, the Putrajaya MP was convicted and found guilty of a charge of accepting a RM2 million bribe from a businessman in his capacity as former Federal Territories minister.

Tengku Adnan’s lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan, in applying for the stay of execution, had cited Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s recent conviction in the High Court over RM42 million misappropriated from SRC International Sdn Bhd.

High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan allowed the stay application, pending disposal of Tengku Adnan’s appeal against the conviction and sentencing at the Court of Appeal after deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim said she had no objections to the application.

When met by reporters later, Tan briefly said a notice of appeal will be filed at the Court of Appeal either today or tomorrow at the very latest.

Both Tan and Tengku Adnan refused to comment when pressed by reporters following the court’s judgment.

Tengku Adnan’s now infamous statement that RM2 million was just pocket change for him did not escape the judge’s attention during his sentencing today.

Zaini made reference to the statement, noting Tengku Adnan had maintained that he was a man of means and that RM2 million which he was accused of receiving from a businessman would not entice him.

“However, RM2 million in my view, is still a substantial amount of money, even for a millionaire.

“It is fallacious to think that a wealthy person is incapable of committing wrong to make financial gains,” he said in his judgment.

Touching on Tengku Adnan’s claims that the money had been used for the two by-elections, Zaini said there was no evidence to show this happened.

Instead, he said it was apparent the RM2 million remained in Tadmansori Holdings Sdn Bhd’s account for Tengku Adnan’s own benefit.

He said it was clear Tengku Adnan had used Tadmansori – which has interests across various business sectors in the country, as a facade to reap profits from corruption.

“His claim that he advanced slightly more than RM2 million for the by-elections is just an afterthought.

“It is therefore established that the accused used Tadmansori as a facade to receive the fruits of his crime,” he said.

As for Tengku Adnan’s political conspiracy claims, Zaini said the accused had lamented that the charge against him was irrelevant, and a ploy by Umno and Barisan Nasional’s rival political party to upend them by targeting him.

“I find that the accused’s complaint is not novel. He is not the first politician charged for a criminal offence that has complained of political conspiracy.

“Our constitution has given the Attorney-General absolute power and unfettered discretion to prosecute criminal offences. The judiciary plays no part in that role.

“The judiciary does not partake in political shenanigans, for it is above politics. If any wrong is done, it is for the courts to rectify or punish the wrong done,” he said.

He said the punishment prescribed under Section 165 was a maximum two years’ jail and the court was inclined to follow precedents, which indicates that a jail sentence is an appropriate punishment.

“I am also of the view that the accused should not be allowed to profit from the wrong that he had committed, which was the RM2 million that he had taken for himself.”

In meting out the sentence, Zaini said the sentencing trend must also reflect the key considerations of deterrence and public interest.

During mitigation for sentencing, Tengku Adnan’s lawyer submitted in court that only a fine of less than RM2,000 without any imprisonment should be imposed to allow his client to retain his parliamentary seat.

Tan said the court should consider the slim majority in Parliament where the current government would be affected if the accused were to be disqualified from his MP position.

This prompted the judge to ask, “Should I be concerned with the political development of this country?”

Tan highlighted his client was a first-time offender, and the act was not a heinous crime.

He asked for the court to take into account his client’s contribution to the country and his constituents against the fact that the offences were committed in Tengku Adnan’s capacity as a minister at the material time.

He also disclosed his client’s health complications involving the heart and lungs, whereby his client was hypotensive and suffered from lipidemia.

Zaini said the prosecution had proven its case beyond all reasonable doubt against Tengku Adnan, who is popularly known as Ku Nan.

Hasnoor Hussain/TMI

Tengku Adnan, who just celebrated his 70th birthday and his son’s wedding yesterday, listened intently from the dock as the judge read out the verdict.

His son’s very public akad nikah ceremony was held yesterday afternoon. About 10,000 people attended the “drive-through” wedding reception of Tengku Hafiz and his Indonesian bride Oceane Cyril Alagia at Dataran Putrajaya, where a special stage was set up in front of the Palace of Justice. The newlyweds upon the completion of the akad nikah came down to the streets to wave to the guests who passed by in their vehicles before taking their food pack at a special tent before leaving.

A livestream of the wedding was made available online.

The akad nikah was followed by a glitzy wedding dinner attended by many prominent politicians at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre. The hall, decked with Javanese-inspired decorations, had more than 100 tables.

Notwithstanding Tengku Adnan’s appeal, the conviction could also mean an end to his political career in Malaysia, as it jeopardises his chances of participating in the next election and his disqualification as an elected representative.