Peter Anthony jailed 3 years, fined RM50,000 for forgery

Peter Anthony jailed 3 years, fined RM50,000 for forgery


Peter Anthony jailed 3 years, fined RM50,000 for forgery

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Sabah infrastructure development minister Peter Anthony has been sentenced to three years’ jail after he was found guilty of falsifying a letter from the office of the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) deputy vice-chancellor for system maintenance contract work.

Sessions court judge Azura Alwi also fined the Melalap assemblyman RM50,000, in default 15 months’ jail.

Azura said she made this decision after considering the submissions made by the defence and prosecution.

She also allowed Peter’s application for a stay of the jail term pending the outcome of his appeal in the High Court.

“However, the accused must pay the fine today. His RM50,000 bail is maintained,” she said.

The charge was framed under Section 468 of the Penal Code for forging a document for the purpose of cheating, which provides for imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine upon conviction.

Peter, 51, as the then managing director of Syarikat Asli Jati, was accused of forging a letter from the office of the UMS deputy vice-chancellor dated June 9, 2014, by inserting a false statement with the intention of using it for fraudulent purposes.

The Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat (KDM) president was charged with committing the offence at the office of the principal private secretary to the prime minister at the Perdana Putra building in Putrajaya between June 13 and Aug 21, 2014.

Peter will remain an assemblyman pending a decision on his appeal against the conviction and sentence.

Earlier, defence counsel S Devanandan mitigated for a minimum jail term and fine, saying Peter had been involved in Sabah politics since 2000.

“For two years from 2018, he was also in the Sabah state government Cabinet, and this is an indirect contribution to the people and country,” he said.

Devanandan said Peter had cooperated with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigators and was present during trial unless dispensed with by Azura.

“He did not benefit from the crime,” he said.

Devanandan said Syarikat Asli Jati, which belonged to Peter, allowed many UMS students to do practical training and also provided financial assistance to poor and needy undergraduates.

The lawyer also said that the accused was charged in 2020 though the offence was committed in 2014.

“This is a stale charge and is another factor to consider for a stay of the imprisonment term.”

Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Haresh Prakash Somiah, however, submitted that a grave offence was committed as the accused made a backdoor attempt to get a RM25 million project that had already been given to REMT Utama Sdn Bhd through open tender.

He also said that two high-ranking UMS staff members had to resign after disciplinary action was taken against them.

“The accused continued his deception to the then prime minister, who was also the finance minister,” he said, referring to Najib Razak.

Haresh said it was unacceptable for the accused to state during trial that lobbying for projects was a “normal habit”, especially considering his tenure as a Sabah minister.

“This is a disturbing phenomenon as a party could hijack a tender that has already been awarded,” he said, adding that the court must send a clear message that such an act would not be condoned.

Meanwhile, DPP Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, who objected to Peter’s application for a stay, said a 2020 decision by a high court to allow a stay of sentence and fine on Najib in the SRC case had created problems in the lower court.

“It has now opened the floodgates. In my humble opinion it is a bad law,” he said.

Devanandan replied that the Court of Appeal, which upheld the High Court ruling, had also allowed Najib a stay pending his final appeal to the Federal Court.

DPP Francine Cheryl Rajendram was also present alongside Haresh and Wan Shaharuddin.

Ex-Sabah minister Peter Anthony found guilty of forgery

Peter Anthony jailed 3 years, fined RM50,000 for forgery

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