KUALA LUMPUR, 13 Jan 2009: The corruption trial of former Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) enforcement director Capt (R) Abdul Kudus Ahmad put the defence lawyer and his witness, Datuk M Kayveas, at each other’s throats today.
The fracas forced Ampang Sessions Court Judge Noradidah Ahmad to repeatedly remind both to respect the court and stop shouting and making remarks irrelevant to the charges.
The proceedings turned up heat when lawyer N Srimurugan asked Kayveas about press statements he had made on the corrupt practice involving an MPAJ enforcement officer who allegedly took bribes totalling RM70,000 monthly.
The witness should explain where he got the information and whether he had verified the information before naming Kudus as the corrupt officer in a statement reported by the Malay Mail on 2 June 2003, he said.
Kayveas replied that an individual came to his office when he was a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and he received from the complainant several documents.
He caused a stir in the courtoom when he said he did not lodge any police report or go the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) office thereafter.
Srimurugan then asked why did he not lodge a report if he called himself a responsible deputy minister.
The remark prompted Kayveas to raise his voice, saying said he had agreed to come to the court as a defence witness to help the accused and therefore the defence lawyer was supposed to give him room to explain.
He said that after his press statement on 19 Jan 2003 that he had information about the corrupt practice involving an MPAJ officer, five ACA officers visited him at his office and he had handed over two volumes of documents to them but they did not record any statement from him.
Asked why Kudus was named as the corrupt MPAJ officer, Kayveas said he had received many complaints about corrupt practices involving MPAJ enforcement officers including Kudus.
“A higher authority had asked me to disclose the name after Kudus himself made a challenge to disclose the name and this had indirectly exposed himself and allowed him to be implicated in corrupt practices at MPAJ,” Kayveas said.
Another heated exchange erupted between the witness and defence lawyer when Kayveas said there was no need for him to identify the “higher authority” in his testimony.
The hostile atmosphere forced judge Noradidah to tell both the lawyer and witness to cooperate with each other if they wanted the proceedings to run smoothly.
Kudus, 46, is on trial for 24 counts of soliciting and receiving bribes totalling RM59,000 from the owner of Sri Steven’s Corner restaurant between May 2001 and May 2004.
Replying to another question, Kayveas said he had by accident passed in front of Sri Steven’s Corner on 13 Jan 2003 when an MPAJ enforcement team was confiscating items at the restaurant.
“The MPAJ team had broken some items there and according to an officer, the instruction to take action came from Kudus,” he said.
The witness said he had contacted Kudus and asked the team to be more compassionate in their action.
When Srimurugan suggested to him that he had shielded the restaurant which operated without licence from the MPAJ action, Kayveas denied it.
“I only wanted to protect the general public from corrupt practices involving MPAJ officers,” he said.
Meanwhile, judge Noradidah allowed the application by Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Nordin Hassan to recall the restaurant owner, Steven @ Sathiasilan Sinnapan, tomorrow. — Bernama