Former Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo spent roughly RM6.5 million to renovate his mansion from its original Italian tropical design to the current Bali concept, the landscaper engaged to do the job, Nasir Ismail, revealed in court today. The amount, he testified on the third day of Khir's corruption trial in the Shah Alam High Court, was stretched out in roughly 13 cash payments between 2006 and 2008.
Nasir said he collected the payments, amounting to RM500,000 in cash each time, about five times from Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Hayroni and around eight times from Khir, who was MB at the time, at his official residence.
He explained that in the beginning he picked up the progress payments from Shamsuddin, whom Mohd Khir had appointed as his agent to handle all matters regarding the renovation, for as he told Nasir, “he had no time to handle it himself”. Later on, Mohd Khir would call him to come to his official residence to collect the payment.
Asked why the payments were made in cash, Nasir said he was bankrupt and cannot administer a bank account. For official purposes, Nasir said he used the bank account of his wife, along with her company Lisa Ubersari Bali Landscape and Pottery, as a front for his landscaping business. He also explained that all 13 transactions were not documented as the owner of the house, as he understood Mohd Khir was then, does not want to have those transactions recorded.
This came after a three-hour meeting at the site of the bungalow in March 2006 between Nasir, a former client, Karim Mansor, Shamsuddin as well as Mohd Khir and his wife Zaharah Kechik.
'Khir wanted similar Balinese concept'
Nasir, who was introduced to Mohamad Khir by Tanjung Sepat assemblyman Datuk Dr Karim Mansor, said Shamsuddin was appointed as manager by the former mentri besar to oversee renovation of the bungalow. Karim, whose garden Nasir previously renovated using the Balinese concept, introduced him to Mohd Khir who wanted a similar concept for his mansion. Nasir was then paid an advance of RM250,000 which he used to procure supplies from Bali. He was signed on to renovate the former MB's mansion in 2006, when the property still belonged to Ditamas.
Questioned on who was actually the owner of the bungalow, Nasir said: "I was confused because the person who gave the orders was Mohamad Khir, but when I got the plan, the name, Ditamas Sdn Bhd, was on it. The plan had been approved," he added.
Masri: When you received the payment, you did not have a bank account. So, how did you manage the money?
Nasir: I used it to pay the suppliers and a portion of it I kept to pay the workers' wages.
Masri: Did you at anytime submit a quotation to Mohamad Khir?
Nasir: Yes and Mohamad Khir requested it to be reduced.
Meanwhile, when questioned by lawyer M.Athimulan, who represented Mohamad Khir, on his bankruptcy status, Nasir said he was a bankrupt from 1998 until 2008.
Mohd Khir only bought the mansion from Ditamas in 2007 for RM3.5 million. However, Nasir said that, for all intents and purposes, he believed Mohd Khir was the owner, as the politician and his wife did most of the talking and gave him his instructions when he was engaged to do the job. It was only later that he learned Ditamas was the landlord when he saw the plans for the renovation with the company listed as owner.
The landscape artist was then cross-examined by lead defence counsel M Athimulan, who prodded the witness on his status as a bankrupt and dealing with that amount of cash, as well as the details of the payments. The cross-examination almost led to a shouting match, as Nasir riled the lawyer with snide comments as the lawyer tried to grill him.
Judge Mohtarudin Baki decided to break early for lunch to calm things down.
Nasir was slated to continue his testimony in the afternoon. He is the third prosecution witness to take the stand thus far. However, when the court resumed for the afternoon session, Nasir again went head to head with Athimulan, this time over an invoice sent by his firm to the client, Mohd Khir.
Court proceedings face delays
Athimulan insisted that the landscaper verify that all the works listed in the multi-page document had been completed by him. But since the document was prepared by his staff, Nasir was unable to recognise the terms and descriptions used and could not be sure what works were being described.
This point is important said the lawyer, as Nasir is alleging that he is being paid millions for the work done, which thus must be verified. High Court Judge Mohtarudin Baki adjourned proceedings until Monday to allow time for Nasir to consult with his staff.
Shamsuddin appeared as the second witness for the prosecution yesterday, though his testimony was cut short as he became agitated and nervous, unable to give coherent replies to questions being posed by lead prosecuter DPP Abdul Wahab Mohamed.
As a result, Mohtarudin postponed the trial to allow him to recuperate. Shamsuddin was supposed to again take the stand today, but Abdul Wahab informed the court that he has been taken ill and will have to further delay his testimony.
Shamsuddin's testimony came after that of Syarikat Permodalan Kebangsaan Berhad CEO Saiful Aznir shahabudin, the owner of the properties involved in the corruption trial prior to it being sold to Shamsuddin and subsequently to Mohd Khir.
Saksi: Ubah-suai rumah RM 6.5 juta dibayar tunai
So what if Khir Toyo pays RM 6.5 million