Thursday, June 9, 2011

‘Khir paid me RM500,000 in cash each time’

Corrupt Barisan Nasional l Khir Toyo - SHAH ALAM: A freelance landscape designer claimed that he received more than RM6 million in cash from former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo and Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Haryoni for a project involving a bungalow in Section 7 here.
Nasir Ismail, 55, told the High Court hearing Khir’s corruption trial that he was hired by the latter in 2006 to convert the house on Jalan Suasa in line with a Balinese garden concept after being introduced to the politician by one Dr Karim Mansor (Tanjong Sepat state assemblyman), as Khir liked his previous work for Karim’s house.

“I received RM500,000 in cash from Khir each time… it was about seven or eight times,” said Nasir, drawing loud murmurs of amazement from the packed courtroom this morning.
Nasir previously said he also received cash payments amounting to RM500,000 four to five times from Shamsuddin. No documents were signed as he was a bankrupt and worked through his wife’s company at the time. Nasir said he was cleared of bankruptcy in 2008.
During examination-in-chief by DPP Masri Mohd Daud, Nasir said the money, totalling more than RM6 million, was given to start and later continue work on the renovation.
Nasir said at first he thought the house belonged to Khir as the former menteri besar and his wife did most of the talking during their first meeting together with Karim and Shamsuddin in 2006.
“I was confused when a plan to be submitted to the local council stated Shamsuddin’s company as Khir was the one who was mainly giving me orders,” he said, adding that Shamsuddin was the person he usually liaised with when he had problems. (Khir only bought the house in 2007.)
Nasir also claimed that he received RM250,000 cash advance payment from Khir when he first took the project.
‘Dr M said Malaysia Boleh’
Asked if he had any experience in doing Balinese designs other than for Karim, Nasir, who dropped out of school after Form One, said: “I have the interest, I read a lot about this subject. And (former premier Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad) said ‘Malaysia Boleh’, so I thought I could do it.”
Nasir said all payments were given on separate occasions and were sometimes at the site of the project or outside. However, he said there were no documentary proof or witnesses.
During cross-examination later, Khir’s lead defence lawyer M Athimulan was visibly angered when Nasir failed to provide a satisfactory answer over the lack of documents to prove the amounts were received.
However, a calm Nasir responded: “Yes, there’re no documents but God knows it.” This prompted Athimulan to raise his voice, “This is not God, this is the judge (we’re talking to), don’t you know?”
Nasir also admitted that he did not declare all the monies which he received from Khir and Shamsuddin to the Official Assignee (now known as the Malaysian Department of Insolvency) eventhough he was a bankrupt.
However, when Athimulan asked if he knew that it was an offence not to do so, Nasir said he was unaware. Justice Mohtarudin Baki then said: “He is not on trial here.”
Athimulan then asked why there were several documents which stated he was a director when it was supposedly his wife’s company, to which Nasir replied: “My worker prepared it. He was confused, he didn’t know.”
Asked about an agreement that Nasir had signed with Khir on the project where the agreed payment for the project was only RM600,000, he explained that the quotation was “just a formality”.
Nasir agreed that he had a misunderstanding with Khir towards the end of the project and he also stopped work due to MACC’s investigation.
Nasir was also asked to go through a thick bundle of invoices with a list of work done to confirm if the works were completed, but could not confirm it on the spot. The court was therefore adjourned to Monday to allow the witness time to check.
“He is the one who says he got millions, he has to answer, he cannot run away,” said Athimulan, who also asked Nasir to provide the court with his wife’s company account number.
Samsuddin now prosecution witness
Khir, 46, was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Dec 6 last year and charged at the Shah Alam Sessions Court together with Shamsuddin, 55.
Khir was charged with obtaining – for himself and his wife Zahrah Kechik, 46 – two plots of land and a bungalow from Ditamas Sdn Bhd through Shamsuddin, at the price of RM3.5 million in 2007 when in fact the lots were bought by Ditamas on Dec 23, 2004 at the price of RM6.5 million.
The property was located at No 8 & 10, Jalan Suasa 7/1 L, Shah Alam.
The former Selangor opposition leader and Sungai Panjang assemblyman is said to have committed the offence at the Selangor menteri besar’s official residence at Jalan Permata 7/1, Shah Alam, on May 29, 2007.
The charge comes under Section 165 of the Penal Code which says that an offence is committed when a public servant obtains something at a much lower value from someone who he has dealings with in his official capacity.
If convicted, the offence carries a maximum two years’ jail term, fine, or both.
Shamsuddin was charged with abetting Khir.
However, Shamsuddin on June 6, was acquitted and discharged by the High Court after deputy public prosecutor Abdul Wahab Mohamad withdrew the charges against him.
He has since turned a witness for the prosecution.
Khir’s Balinese-style mansion in Section 7, Shah Alam – dubbed Istana Dr Khir – was first raised by Sekinchan assemblyperson Ng Suee Lim who questioned Khir’s extravagance in the construction of the mansion and the price paid for the land.
Ng claimed that Khir constructed the 50,000 sq ft property at a cost of RM20 million and purchased the land for RM3.8 million, claims which were denied by the former Selangor Umno strongman.
Khir, who was menteri besar from August 2000 to February 2008, later sued Ng for defamation over the accusation.
Khir previously said he was “happy” over the court action brought against him, claiming that it would serve to clear his name as the house was bought on a “willing-seller, willing-buyer basis”.
Yesterday, the former owner of the property, Saiful Azmir Shahabuddin, CEO of Syarikat Permodalan Kebangsaan Bhd, confirmed that the property was sold to Shamsuddin at RM6.5 million though the initial offer was RM7 million.
Saiful testified that he bought the two plots of land for RM1.3 million in 1995 and 1996. He then built a 15,000 sq ft bungalow, with a garage fit for four cars, a swimming pool, gazebo, fish pond, jogging track and extensive landscape.
Yesterday, Shamsuddin told the court he had direct dealings with Khir over his construction and property development business. Shamsuddin said he personally met the former Selangor MB to apply for several state projects.

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