Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Decision to quash conviction of ex Labuan Member of Parliament set aside

Suhaili (right) with his counsel, Rakhbir Singh

The Court of Appeal on Monday, 20th June 2011 overturned the Kota Kinabalu High Court's decision to quash former Labuan Member of Parliament Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman's conviction and fine of RM10,000 by the Sessions Court for not declaring he was a bankrupt in a bank loan application 15 years ago.

Justices Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, Datuk Sulong Matjeraie and Dato' Haj Mohamed Apandi Ali unanimously allowed the prosecution's appeal and set aside the Kota Kinabalu High Court's order.

In affirming the Sessions Court's decision, the three-member bench held that the High Court judicial commissioner was wrong in his decision.

They held that the criminal offence still subsists even though the bankruptcy of Suhaili was annulled later.

They ordered Suhaili to pay the fine of RM10,000 as imposed by the Sessions Court on him on March 10, 2010.

The High Court Judicial Commissioner had, on Sept 27, 2010, held that the bankruptcy of Suhaili was annulled because he should not have been adjudged bankrupt in the first place by the Sessions Court and that in the situation, it would clearly be wrong to prosecute him for an alleged bankruptcy offence.

The High Court also ordered the fine paid by Suhaili to be refunded.

Earlier in Monday's 20th June 2011 proceedings, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Bache, in their appeal, submitted that the High Court judge had made a finding on the bankruptcy order against Suhaili as void.

"The respondent (Suhaili) was declared bankrupt on Feb 19, 1993, until the Receiving Order and Adjunction Order (RO and AO) that was given by the bankruptcy court in Kota Kinabalu was annulled on May 9, 1997.

He was a bankrupt when he committed the offence when he became a guarantor for the loan facility on April 3, 1996.

"Had he notified the bank of his status, the bank would not have approved the loan," submitted Ahmad.

Suhaili, 50, was on March 11, 2010 fined RM10,000 or one month's jail by the Kota Kinabalu Sessions Court after he pleaded guilty to not declaring he was an undischarged bankrupt to Malayan Banking Berhad when he put himself down as a guarantor for a RM110,000 loan and RM50,000 overdraft facility to Saraequity Sdn Bhd to purchase a shophouse unit at Api-Api Centre here.

The offence allegedly took place at the Malayan Banking Berhad's Kota Kinabalu branch on April 3, 1996.

The charge under Section 109 (1)(m)(ii) of the Bankruptcy Act 1967 carries a jail term of up to two years or fine or both on conviction.

Suhaili was represented by counsel Rakhbir Singh.

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