PUTRAJAYA: The land involved in Selangor Mentri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo's graft case was purchased at market value, the Federal Court was told Tuesday.
Khir's counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said although charges brought against his client state Khir had bought the property at price much lower than that paid by its previous owners, the amount Khir paid was a fair market price.
Khir had in 2007 obtained two lots of land and a bungalow in Shah Alam at RM3.5mil, in contrast to the price of RM6.5 mil paid for it by Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Hayroni on Dec 23 2004.
Shafee submitted on Tuesday that the RM6.5mil land valuation by firm Transasia was emotive and without solid reasoning, as the firm had not even inspected the property.
He pointed out that the firm chosen by the bank, Rahim & Co, was the only firm to go to the location and inspect the building - which turned out to be a skeletal structure - and valued the land at only RM3.5mil.
Shafee said that though Rahim & Co's evaluation was not challenged by the prosecution, only Transasia's valuation was considered by the High Court, and subsequently the Court of Appeal.
Co-counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin said the only reasonable conclusion was that the property's previous owner, Shamsuddin, was attempting to curry favour with Khir by selling the land at a low price.
Kamarul added that Khir was unaware of Shamsuddin's motives and had taken the offer at face value, buying the land for about half its original price.
Chief Justice of Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin fixed Jan 19 to continue the hearing.
The panel also included Justices Ahmad Ma'arop, Hasan Lah, Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha and Ramly Ali.
On May 30, last year, the Court of Appeal rejected Khir's appeal against his graft conviction.
The three-man panel unanimously upheld the High Court's findings, ruling the trial judge did not make any appealable error in deciding to reject Khir's defence and convict him.
The Court of Appeal also upheld the court order for Khir to forfeit the ownership on the property obtained and hand it over to the government.
Khir was found guilty by a Shah Alam High Court on Dec 23, 2011 for knowingly purchasing two pieces of land and a bungalow in Section 7, Shah Alam at a much lower price than its original value.