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Court sets aside former sec-gen’s conviction

KUALA LUMPUR, 6 Nov 2008: The High Court here today allowed the appeal by former secretary-general of the Rural Development Ministry Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz Muhamad and set aside his conviction and five-year jail term for cheating and abetment in criminal breach of trust.

Justice Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah, in acquitting him, said that there was no evidence that he had pressured the general manager of the Terengganu Tengah Development Authority (Ketengah), Datuk Alwi Said, to release funds without approval.

Abdul Aziz was jailed five years by the Sessions Court here in 2005 for abetting Alwi in committing CBT of RM2 million belonging to Ketengah at Kompleks Kewangan, Jalan Raja Chulan, between 27 April and 31 July 1999.

He received another five years jail for cheating the then second finance minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamed, via the ministry officers relating to a Ketengah investment involving RM9 million at the Finance Ministry in Jalan Duta between 24 June and 9 Aug 1999. The sentences were to run concurrently

Mohamad Zabidin said that on the first charge, even though there was strong suspicion that Alwi committed CBT on the instigation of Abdul Aziz, suspicion, no matter how strong, could not take the place of evidence.

On the second charge, he said the whole process relating to the approval of the project was done in a transparent manner with full awareness of the Ketengah board.

“Therefore it was wrong to say that the finance minister was induced to approve the project because these facts were not in the letter sent to the ministry,” he said.

Abdul Aziz told reporters later that he thanked God that the truth had prevailed.

Deputy public prosecutor Dzulkefly Ahmad said he would refer to the Attorney-Ggeneral’s office before deciding on the appeal.

Aziz was represented by Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman and Saseedharan Menon. — Bernama

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