SHAH ALAM: Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli may not be eligible to contest in the coming general election after the Sessions Court here found him guilty of exposing confidential banking details relating to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal.
The court sentenced Rafizi and former bank clerk Johari Mohamad, who abetted him, to 30 months’ imprisonment each.
The court, however, allowed a stay of execution pending an appeal.
Under Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution, an elected representative loses his seat if he is jailed for at least a year or fined a minimum of RM2,000.
Sessions Court judge Zamri Bakar said the court found that the two men had failed to raise doubt in their defence.
Rafizi and Johari’s lawyers asked for a stay on the jail term to file an appeal.
DPP Lailawati Ali did not object to a stay but asked the court to increase bail to RM30,000.
Zamri granted the stay and ordered bail to be maintained at RM15,000 for each of the accused.
Also seen in the packed courtroom were Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar and Seri Setia MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who acted as a bailor in Rafizi’s case.
Earlier, Lailawati asked the court to impose a heavy sentence as she said the two had committed a serious crime involving banking industry secrecy.
“As an MP, Rafizi should have been more careful and not acted on the spur of the moment.
“Such information is confidential and must be protected by the bank,” she said, adding that a 17-year banking industry veteran like Johari should also have known better than to disclose the information.
Lawyer Ahmad Nizam Hamid, who represented Rafizi, said his client was not an MP at the time but was PKR director of strategy.
“It was not a spur of the moment (decision), it was a spur of conscience,” he said.
Rafizi was charged with having access to four customer profile documents pertaining to the balance summaries of NFCorp, National Meat and Livestock Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd, and NFCorp executive chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail.
He was accused of exposing the documents to a media consultant and a journalist at PKR headquarters at Merchant Square, Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1, Petaling Jaya, on March 7, 2012.
He was charged under Section 97(1) of the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 on secrecy.
Johari was accused of abetting Rafizi in committing the alleged offence at the same place and date.
In Petaling Jaya, the Election Commission (EC) said it is too early to say whether or not Rafizi will be eligible to contest in the election.
EC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said it will refrain from commenting on his status for the moment.
“The EC wishes to clarify that it is too early for us to give any statement regarding Rafizi’s status, whether he is eligible or not to contest in PRU14 (the 14th General Election),” he said in a media statement yesterday.
He said the PKR lawmaker’s case was not concluded as Rafizi had the right to appeal.
“For the time being, Rafizi is still Pandan MP,” he said.