KUALA LUMPUR: A former chief executive officer of Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd (PUNB), Ahmad Zukni Johari, and company secretary Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Zain have been acquitted of falsifying share and bond certificates amounting to US$5bil (RM19bil).
They have been freed by Sessions Court judge S.M. Komathy Suppiah after she ruled that their acts in issuing the bond without the sanction of the board of directors was “foolish and an abuse of authority but not criminal.”
“Having considered the evidence as a whole, I accept the testimonies of the first and second accused that they had no dishonest intention in issuing the bond and it was done for the singular purpose of raising funds for the benefit of company.
“I reject the submission by the prosecution that this defence is an afterthought or fabrication,” she ruled yesterday.
On Oct 10, 2002, Ahmad Zukni and Mohamad Aminuddin claimed trial to jointly falsifying the documents at Wisma UOA II, No 21, Jalan Pinang on Oct 13, 2000.
They also pleaded not guilty to two alternative charges — Ahmad Zukni for making the falsification and Mohd Aminuddin for abetting.
In her judgment, Komathy said their defence, in particular, was amply corroborated by a letter written by Ahmad Zukni to then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Dec 11, 2000, before the bonds were discovered by Bank Negara.
Dr Mahathir was also then Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputra board of trustees chairman, to whom Ahmad Zukni reported directly, once every three months on the operational and financial status of PUNB.
Komathy also read out portions of the letter which expressed his frustrations at his “dilemma in dealing and winning over an intransigent board of directors which is stuck with its old ways and thinking”.
In the letter, Ahmad Zukni expressed hope that Dr Mahathir would consider giving him “an opportunity to raise funds from a potential source” for four strategic projects such as IT utility, retailing, automotive, and venture capital sectors.
These mega projects would require about RM16bil in funds, and Ahmad Zuki had decided to proceed with a proposal to raise the funds through the issuance of bonds.
“The crux of the defence of the first accused is that he did not go to the board (of directors) because they were conservative and complacent in their decisions. He believed he was empowered by the power of attorney to issue the bond,” Komathy ruled.
“As for Mohd Aminuddin, in essence his defence is that he signed the bond on the instructions of the first accused because he was confident that the first accused would be able to obtain the necessary approvals after his meeting with the PM,” she ruled.
Speaking to reporters later, Ahmad Zukni said he felt “good”.
“What is right is right. Life must go on,” he said.
When asked if he would return to PUNB, he replied: “Why not? If there is an opportunity. We still have to serve the country.”
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Sophian Zakaria prosecuted, while lawyers Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Goik Kenzu and T. Suresh appeared for the accused.
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