Federal Court upholds former Selangor chief minister's 12-month jail term for corruption

Federal Court upholds former Selangor chief minister's 12-month jail term for corruption
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

PUTRAJAYA - Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo walked into court at 12.30pm as a former Selangor mentri besar wanting to know his fate.

He left handcuffed at 2.50pm as a convict bound for Kajang Prison in a Prison Department car.

The Federal Court upheld his 12-month jail sentence for corruption and dismissed his appeal for community service in lieu of jail time.

He had been guilty of using his position to obtain two plots of land and a bungalow unit at Section 7 in Shah Alam eight years ago.

Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, who chaired the five-man panel, announced the unanimous decision.

He held that corruption in all manner and form could not be condoned and a fine would not send the message. Neither would community service that had been proposed by Dr Khir's counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

"In any event, community service is an option only in the case of youthful offenders," he said.

Justice Zulkefli said the offence, which was destructive of public confidence in the government, was not trivial in nature.

"Imprisonment is the right and proper punishment. A year's imprisonment which is not appealed against by the prosecution, is hardly excessive.

"We unanimously dismiss the appeal against the sentence and therefore affirm the sentence of one year imprisonment meted out by the trial judge," Justice Zulkefli said after delivering the 25-minute verdict before a packed courtroom, which included many supporters and relatives of Dr Khir.

Other judges on the panel were Justices Ahmad Maarop, Hasan Lah, Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha and Ramly Ali.

Dr Khir's wife Zahrah Kechik, 50, who sat in the front row of the public gallery behind the dock, appeared calm after hearing the decision.

As soon as the court adjourned at 2.10pm, Dr Khir, 50, clad in a purple striped shirt underneath a grey jacket and black trousers, walked out of the dock and approached his team of counsel followed by Zahrah.

After 10 minutes of discussion with Shafee, Datuk Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin and M. Athimulan, Dr Khir and Zahrah were ushered by a policeman to the court lockup before he was sent to Kajang Prison in a Prison Department car.

Earlier, Justice Zulkefli said none of the reports in the media had influenced the panel in arriving at the verdict which they had decided on purely on the facts and evidence.

He held that as a public servant and chief executive of the state, the appellant took a valuable thing for a consideration which he knew was inadequate, from a person whom he knew was concerned with him as a public servant in his official functions.

Justice Zulkefli said that the appellant took advantage of his official position and one purpose of Section 165 of the Penal Code was to prevent that sort of corruption.

On the forfeiture of said land, Justice Zulkefli said that upon conviction, the trial court instructed forfeiture of the land and it was ordered in accordance with the law and not arbitrarily forfeited.

On Sept 22, the same panel dismissed Dr Khir's appeal against his conviction.

Dr Khir had appealed at the Federal Court against his conviction and 12-month jail sentence meted out by the Shah Alam High Court for using his position to obtain the land and the bungalow.

The former mentri besar was charged with obtaining for himself and his wife two lots of land and a bungalow at No 8&10, Jalan Suasa 7/1L through Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Hayroni.

The properties were bought at RM3.5mil, in contrast to the price of RM6.5mil (S$2 million) paid for it by Ditamas on Dec 23, 2004.

On May 30, 2013, the Court of Appeal rejected Dr Khir's appeal against his conviction.

It unanimously upheld the High Court's findings, ruling that the trial judge did not make any appealable error in deciding to reject Dr Khir's defence and convict him.

The Court of Appeal also upheld the court order for Dr Khir to forfeit the ownership on the property obtained and hand it over to the government.

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