PUTRAJAYA: Former Perwaja Steel managing director Tan Sri Eric Chia's appeal against a High Court decision to allow evidence taken in Hong Kong to be produced in his criminal breach of trust (CBT) trial will be heard by the Court of Appeal here today.
The panel of three judges, led by Justice Datuk Denis Ong Jiew Fook, also granted an application by Chia's counsel Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah that Chia be exempted from attending the appeal.
Muhammad Shafee, in his application, said that previously, the High Court had excused Chia from being present during the proceedings on the grounds that he was wheelchair bound.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden had no objection.
The High Court had overturned the Sessions Court rejection of the prosecution's application to produce the evidence from Hong Kong in Chia's CBT trial in the Sessions Court.
Chia, 73, also the former managing director of Perwaja Rolling Mill Development Sdn Bhd, pleaded not guilty on Feb 10 last year to CBT of RM76.4mil at his office at Menara UBN, Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur, between Nov 4, 1993, and Feb 22, 1994.
He is alleged to have dishonestly authorised the payment of the money into the account of Frilsham Enterprise Incorporated at American Express Bank Limited in Hong Kong for technical assistance rendered by NKK Corporation of Japan for the Beam and Section Mill Plant project in Gurun, Kedah, when no payment should have been made.
Alternatively, Chia is charged with disposing of the money by signing an agreement with NKK Corporation and approving the payment without the approval of the board of directors or the tender committee of Perwaja Rolling Mill Development Sdn Bhd.
He is released on bail of RM2mil with one surety and his travelling documents were impounded.
The trial before Sessions Court judge Akhtar Tahir continues on Aug 10.
Chia has also another appeal pending in the Court of Appeal in relation to the Attorney-General's gathering of evidence from witnesses in Geneva and Zurich, Switzerland. Bernama