The Shah Alam High Court has upheld a six-year jail sentence and a RM400,000 fine handed to Sabak Bernam MP Abdul Rahman Bakri and his aide Rosli Busro for making false claims.

Judge Akhtar Tahir initially ordered for the sentence to be carried out immediately, but the defence team managed to argue for a stay of execution late this evening.

However, the bail amount for Abdul Rahman has been increased from RM50,000 to RM80,000.
The accused will have a final chance to argue for their freedom at the Court of Appeal level.

On March 1, Sessions Court Judge Azhaniz Teh Azman Teh had handed down the sentence after finding Abdul Rahman and Rosli guilty of eight charges of making false claims for programmes which never took place, amounting to RM80,000.

NONEAbdul Rahman (right) was accused of committing the offence before 2008, when he was then the Sungai Air Tawar state assemblyperson, while Rosli was accused of abetting him.

According to Bernama, Judge Akhtar ruling had dismissed the defence counsel's argument that statements from two key witnesses - Mohd Harmizar Sulaiman and Rizam Ismail - should not be accepted by the court on grounds that they were accomplices.

"I have read the statements by the two witnesses and I don't consider them to be accomplices. They are followers or people who follow whatever sought by the first accused (Abdul Rahman) and the second accused (Rosli).

"Even if both witnesses were accomplices, their statements were corroborated by statements from other independent witnesses.

"Because of this, it is my view that the Sessions Court judge did not make a mistake in admitting statements from both witnesses. It is clear from their statements that the accused intended to make a false claim," said the judge.

'It was a false claim'

Akhtar said the matter was proven when the monies received were not used for their intended purposes and were instead used for personal matters.

"The defence counsel also submitted that the claims were not false because the programmes were held but not in the areas stated in the claims. However, I am more inclined to state it was a false claim.

"In this appeal, I am satisfied that the Sessions Court judge did not make any mistake in finding the two accused guilty of all charges and the sentence is commensurate with the crime and the position held by both accused.

"In view of this, the appeal against the conviction and the sentence is denied and sentence upheld," said the judge.

Abdul Rahman and Rosli are represented by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Badrul Munir Mohd Bukhari, while the respondents are represented by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission prosecution unit chief Abdul Razak Musa and deputy public prosecutor Mohd Zaki Salleh.

Abdul Rahman, 47, was accused of using dubious claims documents to obtain allocations for a series of programmes which never took place.

He was charged with committing the eight offences at the Sabak Bernam district office between Jan 21 and Feb 12 in 2008.

Under Section 11(c) and Section 16 of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, Abdul Rahman can be jailed up to up 20 years and fined not less than five times the value involved or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Rosli, 44, is accused of being an accomplice in all the charges.

In May 2008, Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim told the state legislative assembly that 90.2 percent of the RM29,542,000.09 allocation by the state government for the year been disbursed before March.

After Pakatan Rakyat took over the administration of Selangor in March, state assemblypersons found that the allocations, RM500,000 for each constituency, had mostly been used up.

At the time, Pakatan accused BN of abusing the funds for electioneering.