SHAH ALAM: After seven years of trial, PKR vice-president Mohd Rafizi Ramli was sentenced to 30 months' jail by the Sessions Court today for exposing the bank account details related to National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFC) and its chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail.

Fomer Public Bank clerk Johari Mohamad, 47, who was charged with abetting Rafizi, 41, was also sentenced to 30 months' jail after both of them were convicted.

In sentencing the duo, judge Zamri Bakar said the court found that the defence had failed to raise a reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case. “After making maximum evaluation, the court finds that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond reasonable doubt and therefore both accused are found guilty of the charges,” Zamri said.

Rafizi and Johari looked at each other immediately after the verdict was delivered in the courtroom which was filled with supporters. In mitigation, counsel Ahmad Nizam Hamid, who represented the Pandan MP, said the act by his client was committed as a sense of public responsibilty.

“He is a Member of Parliament who was chosen by the people and he made the disclosure as a sense of responsibility to the public and his duty to inform people about the issue faced by NFC,” Nizam said, adding that his client had not gained any profit from the act.

Meanwhile, counsel Latheefa Koya, who represented Johari, in pleading for leniency said there was no evidence by the prosecution that her client had benefitted from the offence.

“This is his first offence.. he has no prior criminal record,” she said, adding that Johari who is a father of three was the sole breadwinner of his family.

Deputy public prosecutor Lailawati Ali urged for deterrent sentence to both accused as it was a serious offence.

“All banking details are confidential and must be protected by the banks,” she said, adding that what Rafizi and Johari did might make not only Malaysians but foreign investers lose confidence in banking institutions.

Lailawati submitted that Johari who had worked for the bank for 17 years should know better to protect all banking information that he had access to.

“I’m afraid if a heavy penalty is not meted out, the public will get the wrong message that such offence is not serious,” she said.

Lailawati proposed a minimum RM500,000 fine and a six-month jail term to be imposed on both accused.

Nizam applied for a stay of execution pending appeal.

Zamri maintained the bail of RM15,000 with one surety for each accused pending appeal.

A total of 19 prosecution witnesses were called to testify in the trial while Rafizi and Johari testified in their own defence.

On Aug 1, 2012, Rafizi pleaded not guilty to disclosing four statements of accounts belonging to Public Bank Bhd customers - NFC, National Meat and Livestock Sdn Bhd, Agroscience and Industries Sdn Bhd and NFC chairman Mohamad Salleh - to two individuals identified as Yusuf Abdul Alim and Erle Martin Carvalho.

The offence was committed at the PKR head office in Merchant Square, Jalan Tropicana Selatan, Petaling Jaya, on March 7 the same year.

On the same day Johari was charged with conspiring with Rafizi.

Both of them were charged under Sections 97(1) and 112(1)(c) of the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia), punishable under Section 103 (1) (a) of the same Act, which carries a maximum jail term of three years or a maximum fine of RM3 million or both, upon conviction.

On Sept 10 the same year, Rafizi filed an application at the High Court to set aside the charge against him on the grounds that it was politically motivated.

Rafizi, who was on Nov, 14, 2016, sentenced to 18 months' jail by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for unauthorised possession and exposure of the confidential 1Malaysia Development Bhd (IMDB) audit report, has also appealed to the Court of Appeal against his conviction and sentence in that matter.

The charge was framed under the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA).

The High Court on Aug 23, 2017, upheld the Sessions Court's decision.

The Shah Alam Sessions Court today sentenced PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli (second from left) to 30 months in jail for leaking confidential banking details related to the National Feedlot Corporation in 2012. Pix by Asyraf Hamzah