Sunday, August 1, 2021

Former TH chairman fails in bid to quash corruption, money laundering charges

Judge rules among others that Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim failed to show that the charges against him were malicious.

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Former Tabung Haji chairman Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim today failed in his bid to quash three corruption charges pertaining to road projects in Perak and Kedah, as well as 10 charges of money laundering.

This followed the decision of High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin to dismiss the application on the grounds that the charges against Azeez, 54, were not defective but based on the provisions of law.

“I find the reason given by the applicant (Azeez) baseless. The applicant also failed to show that the charges made against him were mala fide (malicious).

“In my opinion, this case is not a suitable and appropriate case for the court to exercise its existing power to set aside and quash the charges against the applicant. Therefore, the applicant’s application is dismissed,” Jamil said.

Jamil also said the charges made under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act against Azeez, 54, were not flawed even though four separate projects were combined in one charge as the bribes received were in relation to those projects.

“There is no issue of ‘duplicity’ or ‘multiplicity’ because it is not a separate offence of accepting bribes for each of the projects. Therefore, there is no breach of Section 163 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) which provides for different charges for every offence committed,” he said.

For the money laundering offences, Jamil said there was no ambiguity as the charge contained details as required by Section 152 and Section 153 of the CPC.

“The charge was not framed with prejudice and the applicant also did not show how he was confused or prejudiced.

“The lack of details in what form and how the money was received by the applicant, with no mention of the exact date and place where the offence was committed, which was in the Klang Valley, did not make the charges defective,” he added.

He also said the omission of details – the exact date and location – in the charge had not caused the applicant to be confused to the point where he could not submit an appropriate defence.

On the issue of the applicant being investigated over Tabung Haji, but the charge being unrelated to the board, Jamil said it was up to the public prosecutor to initiate prosecution under the law they deemed appropriate.

“Prior to this, as submitted by the deputy public prosecutor, the prosecution made appropriate amendments to the first to ninth charges with the permission of the court and without any objection from the counsel representing the applicant in the trial at the Sessions Court.

“The applicant cannot say that the action of the prosecution in amending all nine charges is unlawful or an abuse of the court process. In whatever circumstances with the permission of the court, the prosecution has the right to amend the charges at any stage of the trial,” he added.

Azeez’s case has been set for hearing before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi on March 15.

Azeez’s lawyer, Hamzah Arshad, told the court that the defence would appeal against today’s decision.

Azeez was charged with three counts of accepting bribes amounting to RM5.2 million in connection with road projects in Perak and Kedah and 10 counts of money laundering involving a total of RM13.9 million which he allegedly received from Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd.

The offences were allegedly committed at CIMB Bank, Jalan Tun Perak in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 8, 2010, and at Affin Bank, Puchong City Centre, Selangor, on June 13, 2017 and April 10, 2018.

On the money laundering charges, Azeez was charged with committing the offences in the Klang Valley area between March 8, 2010 and Aug 30, 2018.

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