Thursday, June 16, 2011

Khir pressured me to lie, says Ditamas boss

Corrupt Barisan Nasional - SHAH ALAM: Former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo had put pressure on Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Hayroni to lie to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2009 so as not to implicate either of them in any offence.
“When I was called in by the MACC in 2009, I received a lot of pressure from Khir,” Shamsuddin testified today when being re-examined by deputy public prosecutor Abdul Wahab Mohamed at the corruption trial of Khir at the Shah Alam High Court.
“At the time… I was asked not to involve him and myself in any charges,” he said, prompting some angry exclamations from some Khir supporters seated in the packed gallery.

“Many times Khir promised me that we would not be prosecuted and told me that he will make sure everything was under his control,” said Shamsuddin, who was explaining why he made several changes to a statement he gave MACC in 2009 and another one on June 7, this year.
“I was under the assumption that I was only a witness but when MACC handed me a letter (informing me) that it is bringing charges against me, I was shocked,” he said.
While Shamsuddin was giving an emotional testimony, Khir was seen shaking his head several times in the dock.
“In this honourable court, I say… when I knew I was being charged… Khir still told me: ‘Don’t worry Sham, we can solve this’. That’s what he said,” he said haltingly.
“But as an ordinary person, I could not take it. I discussed with my wife and met my lawyer and told him everything. I don’t even understand why I was being charged,” he said, adding that that was when he decided to tell what truly happened.
Earlier, Wahab asked Shamsuddin to explain why he admitted yesterday that he changed three key facts in a previous his statement he gave to the MACC, his latest one on June 7 and the current testimony in court.
Khir’s defence counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin objected to Shamsuddin’s lengthy explanation and sought to re-examine the witness.
Kamarul: You said that you gave a false statement because of pressure from Khir?

Kamarul: If that’s the case, then you are saying that you committed an offence under Section 30 of the MACC Act?
Shamsuddin: No it’s not false, it’s just different.

 You prefer the word ‘different’… you initially said you were the one who hired (landscape artist) Nasir (Ismail), and now you say it’s Khir (who hired). Is that not giving a false statement initially?
Shamsuddin: I admit it was a false statement (made) under tremendous pressure from Khir at the time

 So I put it to you that when you felt that you could gain an advantage from it, you are someone who is ready to lie?

I am not.
Perfectly reasonable
When asked, Shamsuddin agreed that he willingly gave such a statement initially and was not forced by the MACC officers.
Earlier, Kamarul had argued that Khir’s offer to pay RM3.5 million for his mansion was perfectly reasonable as a valuation firm from a bank had calculated its value as such.
Kamarul said that valuer Rahim & Co, engaged by HSBC bank, had estimated the value of the Section 7 property at RM3.5 million and Shamsuddin had “no basis” to expect more.
“So you have here a valuation report two days before May 16, 2007, when Ditamas passed a resolution to allow Shamsuddin to enter an agreement to sell the property at RM3.5 million to Khir and his wife,” said Kamarul.
Shamsuddin, who admitted he was aware of the valuation, however, maintained that RM3.5 million was too low a price. He at first did not agree to it but later “had no option” but to sell it to Khir as he was the menteri besar and he feared for his Selangor projects and businesses.
Shamsuddin said he had wanted to sell the property he bought for RM6.5 million at a price of between RM5million and RM5.5 million. He had engaged independent valuer Trans Asia, which had valued the property at RM5.52 million when it was 60% complete then. The same valuer estimated the property to be worth RM7.6 million when completed.
However, Kamarul pointed out that Shamsuddin had every opportunity to show Khir the valuation report by Trans Asia but failed to do so.
“You never told him about Trans Asia so Khir didn’t know about the RM5.52 million valuation, so wasn’t it reasonable for him to offer RM3.5 million?”
No authority
Kamarul also suggested that when a dispute arose between Shamsuddin and Khir over the selling price, Khir suggested that they rely on the valuation report to be prepared by his bank.
Shamsuddin agreed but maintained his stand that he only agreed out of fear.
He also admitted today that he actually had no authority to sign the purchase agreement to buy the house because Ditamas had not passed the resolution (to buy the house) at that time.
He admitted that he failed to declare RM1.5 million in stamp duty, and did not submit documents for transfer of the land for RM1.5 million.
However, he denied a suggestion by Kamarul that all these meant that the real price of the mansion was actually RM5 million and not RM6.5 million.
Khir, 46, was arrested by the 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 located at No 8 & 10, Jalan Suasa 7/1L, Shah Alam, from Ditamas through Shamsuddin, at the price of RM3.5 million in 2007 when in fact the lots were bought by Ditamas on Dec 23, 2004 for RM6.5 million.
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 with whom he has dealings 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, on June 6, just a day before his statement to the MACC, he was acquitted and discharged after the prosecution dropped its case against him. He has since turned into a star witness for the prosecution.
Today was the seventh day of Khir’s trial, which also heard testimonies from the ninth and 10th witnesses, namely Zaleha Baharom, a director of the government Property and Valuation Services Department, and Nor Sidek Mohd Nor, a valuer from Trans Asia.
Hearing continues next Monday before Judge Mohtarudin Baki.

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