One court for two cases

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 22 Feb 2006

KUALA LUMPUR: After numerous attempts, the prosecution has finally succeeded in getting the corruption cases involving Datuk Wasli Mohd Said and Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam tried in the same court here. 

High Court 3 judge, Justice Mohtarudin Baki transferred Wasli's case yesterday to High Court 1 where Kasitah's trial is to begin on March 1 before Justice Abdull Hamid Embong. 

Justice Abdull Hamid will on that date, hear the application by the prosecution for a joint trial of the two cases. 

Wasli, formerly Sabah Land Development Board (SLDB) general manager, had claimed trial on Feb 12, 2004, at a Kota Kinabalu Sessions Court to five counts of corruption involving RM1mil and 3.36 million company shares. 

Wasli, 58, was accused of bribing Kasitah – then Land and Cooperative Development Minister – with 3.36 million SAPI Plantations shares between Nov 4, 1996, and Oct 25, 1997. 

Kasitah, 59, had, on the same day, claimed trial in a Sessions Court here to abusing his position as SLDB chairman for financial gain by taking part in a decision to approve the sale of 16.8 million SAPI Plantations Sdn Bhd shares held by SLDB to Briskmark Enterprise Sdn Bhd. He was allegedly promised 3.36 million shares in the plantation company. 

Both cases were then transferred to the Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur High Courts, respectively, as the prosecution attempted to secure a joint trial. 

The cases were postponed several times over the next two years, pending the outcome of the prosecution's bid. 

The trial dates for both cases were finally fixed after the Court of Appeal rejected the prosecution's appeal to have Wasli's case transferred to the High Court here in November last year. 

The latest development came early this month when Wasli faced two new bribery charges in a Sessions Court here, involving RM1mil. This case was transferred on the same day to Justice Mohtarudin's court where Wasli claimed trial. 

Wasli's counsel Gobind Singh Deo had earlier objected to the transfer, arguing that Justice Mohtarudin had seized power to hear the case when his client's plea was entered in the judge's court. 

He contended that once a High Court judge had seized jurisdiction over a case, no one including the Chief Judge of Malaya could interfere, even if it were through administrative means. 

Lawyer Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who held a watching brief for Kasitah, also voiced his objections to the transfer. 

However, the court ruled in favour of the prosecution, which had submitted a letter from the Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Siti Norma Yaakob with instructions for the transfer.  

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