Apr 12, 2007

Tun Mahathir not implicated in Perwaja's RM76.4m payout

(The Sun) Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was not implicated in a RM76.4 million payout to the Japanese based NKK Corporation, a sessions court was told today.

"Based on my investigations, Tun Dr Mahathir was not involved in the issue of the RM76.4 million payout," Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) investigating officer Han Chee Rull told sessions judge Akhtar Tahir, during re-examination by Deputy Public Prosecutor Nordin Hassan.

Nordin had asked Han if Dr Mahathir was directly or indirectly involved in the payment of the RM76.4 million to the Japanese based NKK Corporation.

However, defence lawyer Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah objected, saying Han had on Tuesday (April 10) told the court he was not aware of the extent of Mahathir's involvement in the matter.

Akhtar however allowed Nordin's question as he said it revolved around Han's investigations.

Earlier, Han had told the court he had found it unnecessary to record further statements from Tan Sri Eric Chia despite obtaining new evidence.

He said no other statements were taken from the former Perwaja Steel managing director subsequent to the Nov 9, 1996, cautioned statement recorded from Chia.

Nordin had asked Han the question with reference to defence lawyer Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah's claim that Chia was not given an opportunity to explain on additional evidence compiled by Han subsequently.

Questioned as to what the new evidence was, Han said they comprised the technical assistance agreement (TAA) and the flow of the RM76.4 million.

Asked whether Chia was asked for an explanation about the issue of RM76.4 million, Han replied in the affirmative.

Meanwhile, asked whether the magistrates in Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland had allowed the defence opportunity to be present during the proceedings there, Han said the chance was given.

Muhammad Shafee objected, saying Han had previously stated he did not know what transpired in the court room because he did not sit through the hearing.

Muhammad Shafee had also contended previously that the defence team was notified about the hearing in Geneva and Zurich only at the last minute and had thus faced difficulties in seeking local lawyers to represent Chia at the hearing.

As to why he (Han) had required about two weeks to study the documents related to the probe in Switzerland, Han said various types of documents had to be scrutinised.

Asked what the documents related to, Han said they comprised "bank documents related to the identity of the account holders and deposit and withdrawal transactions performed."

He added that the time was also to enable him to prepare a master flow chart and reports on the case.

Nordin then told Akhtar the prosecution had finished questioning Han and called two translators and a National Registration Departement staff to the witness stand.

When Akhtar later asked if the prosecution intends to call several witnesses from Hong Kong, Nordin said it had yet to decide on the matter.

Hearing was then adjourned to Friday (April 13).

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