8 Dec 2010

AG to declassify documents for Dr Ling’s trial

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — The Attorney-General (AG) has promised the High Court here he will share top secret government documents over the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal with the defence in the high-profile trial of Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik who is charged with cheating Putrajaya for the land project. The High Court has fixed trial for May 3 to 20 next year.

Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail told the court today he had no problems giving the former transport minister’s defence team the documents on the scandal as requested, but will take some time to process them as there were over 100 documents.“I have no problems. I will provide the documents,” he said, in reply to lead defence lawyer Wong Kian Kheong who told the court he had yet to receive the documents requested.
The documents, which include minutes of Cabinet meetings, Cabinet committee meetings and post-Cabinet papers on the Port Klang development project are classified under the Official Secrets 1972.Abdul Gani said he would be able to release them by mid January 2011.

“We have an understanding...that this will be sorted before the trial proper starts,” he added, referring to the documents.The top government lawyer said he was doing it to ensure the trial would run smoothly.Abdul Gani will be personally leading the prosecution against Dr Ling, he told reporters outside the courtroom.
The public prosecutor plans to bring in between 15 and 16 witnesses for the trial.

A court official disclosed to reporters that the trial judge Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi from the Shah Alam High Court had been brought in specially for the high-profile case.The 56-year-old judge had previously been held positions in the KL prosecution team and was the state legal advisor for the Selangor government as well as being part of the advisory panel in the Prime Minister’s Department before being appointed a High Court judicial commissioner on August 13, 2007.

Justice Ahmadi today fixed trial for May 3 to 20 next year.Justice Ahmadi also agreed to allow Dr Ling out on a RM1 million personal bond.Dr Ling who was also an MCA president was charged on July 29 with concealing the fact that the Finance Ministry’s valuation and property service department had valued the land for the troubled port project at RM25psf for a repayment period of 10 years, or RM25.82psf for a repayment period of 15 years, including interest chargeable for the repayment period.He was charged in the Putrajaya Sessions Court under section 418 of the Penal Code with “cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may be caused to a person whose interest the offender is bound to protect”.

He is alleged to have committed offence at the fourth floor of the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between September 25 and November 6, 2002.Dr Ling faces up to seven years in jail and a fine if convicted.
Dr Ling also faces an alternative charge, under section 417, of cheating the government by misleading the Cabinet on the land acquisition for the same project, at the same place and time.The alternative charge carries a lesser sentence of up to five years behind bars and a fine.

Source : http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/ag-to-declassify-documents-for-dr-lings-trial/

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