High Court upholds 5-year jail sentence for two unlicensed land brokers

KHAIRAH N. KARIM


KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here was not on the side of two unlicensed land brokers when it upheld the duo's five-year jail term and RM1 million fine for money laundering activities amounting to over RM5 million 14 years ago.

Judge Datuk Azman Husin made the decision after dismissing 58-year-old Gan Kiat Bend and 65-year-old Ismail Husin's appeal against the sessions court’s decision on Dec 23, 2010, convicting them of the offences.

"The court is of the view that the trial court's decision was safe and therefore the sentence and conviction were right," he said.

Azman also allowed a stay application by Gan's and Ismail's counsel, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed and Zeffree Zainudin, respectively, pending appeal.

The counsels submitted that their clients have already served a years' jail for failing to pay the RM1 million fine.

"The sessions court only granted a stay of the jail sentence, but did not grant stay of the fine. Because my client failed to pay the fine, he served one year in jail that was given in default.

"(Ismail) has only a five-year sentence left to serve," Zeffree said, while Wan Aizuddin applied the former's submission for Gan.

Deputy public prosecutor Nur Ashikin Mokhtar earlier objected to the stay application, saying that there are no special circumstances for the accused to be granted a stay, and proposed that the bail amount of RM170,000 earlier granted to the accused be increased to RM500,000.

However, Azman maintained the accused's bail amount.

Gan was charged with four counts of money laundering involving a total of RM2.4 million, allegedly committed at Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad, No 2, Jalan Ampang, here, between Nov 19, 2003 and Jan 9, 2004.

Ismail was charged with 12 counts of money laundering involving RM2.85 million, allegedly committed at the same place and time.

On Dec 23, 2010, sessions court judge Datuk Jagjit Singh sentenced the two to five years’ jail and fined them RM1 million, after they were found guilty of committing the offences.

In his decision, Jagjit ruled that the defence failed to raise a reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case and that the accused received the proceeds from illegal activities.