Rohaizat was never involved in any land transaction handled by his legal firm partner, Ahmad told a press conference Tuesday.
Ahmad said the sum, intended for the purchase of some real estate, was paid exclusively to Rohaizat’s partner, someone by the name of Yusri Ishak. He was also alleged to have handled all the transactions and processing by himself and without Rohaizat’s involvement.
Bernama has the story:
(The controversy has now put BN and Umno in a spot, as they are likely to be faced with defending a candidate perceived as tainted by the opposition with the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) capitalising (read here) on the matter in the run up to the by-election on Tuesday. Rohaizat and other Umno leaders, however, said the matter is a non-issue and that PR is only using it as a character assassination attempt on him.)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 00:18 AM
Rohaizat Was Not Involved In Transaction, Says Umno Information Chief
BUKIT MERTAJAM, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- The Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate in the Permatang Pasir by-election, Rohaizat Othman, was not involved in any land transaction handled by his legal firm partner on behalf of Koperasi Pekebun Getah Negeri Pulau Pinang Berhad, said Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan.
Instead, he said, Rohaizat became a victim of circumstances after the partner left the law firm and had to bear the burden of resolving problems arising from the transaction.
He said, in 2002, the cooperative had hired Messrs Saif Ariff T.Jayaraj & Rohaizat to represent it in a property purchase in Penang.
He said the cooperative handed over the money for the purchase to the law firm but later the transaction had to be cancelled.
"At all material times, the transaction was handled by the partner who had been with the firm from 1999 to 2003," he told a press conference at the BN's election operations room here tonight.
He added that the money paid by the cooperative was received exclusively by by the partner, who was handling the client's accounts at all material times.
"Rohaizat's partner was the authorised signatory for the accounts and Rohaizat had no involvement or knowledge about the property transcation," he said.
Ahmad said at the time the cooperative lodged a complaint with the Bar Council's disciplinary board over the transaction, Rohaizad's partner had already left the firm and he (Rohaizat) was named as the respondent in the complaint, making him a victim of circumstances.
He added that Rohaizat appeared before the board for the first time on Sept 11 2007 and on that the day, the board had only questioned a representative of the copperative.
He said the hearing was then postponed to Sept 14 to enable Rohaizat cross examine the representative of the cooperative and explain his side of the story.
However, on that day, Rohaizat did not attend the hearing because he was sick and a medical chit on his illness was submitted to the board, he said.
Following that, he said Rohaizat never received any notices from the board until March 14 2008, when he received a letter stating he had been disbarred.
Ahmad said in discharging his firm's responsibilities, Rohaizat had refunded monies due to the cooperative and following this, the cooperative had written a letter to the disciplinary board on March 28 2008 to retract all complaints made against Rohaizat as all their claims had been settled.
This, he said, showed Rohaizat was a leader of quality and did not run away from problems, unlike his partner, and thus could be deemed a "hero".
As such, he said, allegations by certain quarters that Rohaizat was a person without integrity were not true and hoped this clarification would put to rest the accusations that had been hurled about the BN candidate.
The press conference was also attended by Penang Umno legal advisor Abu Bakar As-Sidek Mohd Sidek, Rohaizat, Penang Umno deputy chief Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman and a representative of the cooperative.
The BN is involved in a straight fight for the state seat. Polling is on Aug 25. -- BERNAMA