Crime & Courts

Appeals Court upholds jail term, fine on Hishammuddin's ex-aide

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today upheld the sentence of two years' jail and RM400,000 fine meted out on the former special officer to Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for accepting a RM80,000 bribe 10 years ago. 

At the onset of the proceedings today, a three-judge panel led by Justice Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, was informed that the appellant, Zailan Jauhari, 54, had died in January last year.

In dismissing the appeal, Justice Hadhariah said there was overwhelming evidence from the prosecution against Zailan, who once served as the former Defence Minister's parliamentary officer. 

"Therefore, the appeal against the conviction and sentence is dismissed while the RM60,000 bail is to be returned to the bailor," she ruled.

Also on the panel were Justices Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Datuk Azmi Ariffin. 

The charge read that Zailan was accused of dishonestly accepting RM20,000 cash and a RM60,000 cheque, for anyone else, as inducement to assist two companies to obtain school-cleaning tenders in Kuala Selangor from the Education Ministry. 

He was charged under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act punishable under Section 24. 

The offence was committed between 7.30pm and 8pm on Jan 8, 2014 at Mak Engku Steamboat & Grill, No 2, Jalan Bendahara 1/2, Taman Bendahara in Kuala Selangor.

On Dec 27, 2018, the Sessions Court in Shah Alam found Zailan guilty and sentenced him to two years jail and a RM400,000 fine. 

Zailan paid the fine and filed an appeal against the conviction and sentence but the Shah Alam High Court maintained the Sessions Court's decision on Feb 17, 2022.

During submissions, counsel P.G Cyril said his client had died and his wife, who was his bailor, was present at the proceedings. 

He said a person named "Datuk Mohar" was a potential witness whose testimony would be able to confirm or deny if the bribe sum was actually for community purposes.

However, he said "Datuk Mohar" was not called to testify or offered as witness for his client, even though his name was listed in the witness list. 

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Fairuz Johari submitted that the High Court judge was right in finding that Section 114(g) of the Evidence Act 1950 was not applicable on the prosecution just because "Datuk Mohar" was not called as a witness. 

He said even without the testimony of "Datuk Mohar", the evidence presented by the prosecution would remain.

He said the evidence of the 19th prosecution witness, who was a contractor, had clearly stated that the payment needed to be made to the appellant was a commission and unrelated to any community project.

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