Monday, July 26, 2021

Ahmad Maslan’s trial for money laundering, false statements transferred to High Court

The prosecution is expected to present 10 or 11 witnesses to testify at the trial.

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Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan, who is charged with failing to declare RM2 million received from Najib Razak to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) and giving false statements to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), will have his trial heard at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

This follows a decision by judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah today, allowing Ahmad’s application to have his case transferred from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

Ahmad’s lawyer, Hamidi Mohd Noh, when contacted today, said the decision was made as there were serious legal issues involved, especially in the charges faced by his client under Section 32 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

“Besides that, there were two other similar cases including the case of Shahrir Ab Samad (former Felda chairman) which was also transferred to the High Court,” he said, adding that the application to transfer the case was filed on June 28.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Mukhzany Fariz Mohd Mokhtar said the prosecution had no objection to the case being transferred to the High Court.

“The prosecution will present 10 or 11 witnesses to testify at the trial,” he said.

The case was previously set for trial before Sessions Court judge Suzana Hussain from July 5 onwards.

On the charge of money laundering, Ahmad was alleged to have violated Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 by not stating his real income on the RM2 million he received from Najib in the income tax return form for assessment year 2013.

He is alleged to have received the money, believed to be the proceeds of illegal activities, through a check from AmIslamic Bank Bhd dated Nov 27, 2013, which he personally cashed on the same day.

The offence was allegedly committed at the LHDN Duta branch on April 30, 2014.

The charge, framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, provides a maximum fine of RM5 million, imprisonment for up to five years, or both, upon conviction.

The other charge was for giving false statements to the MACC when questioned by investigating officer Mohd Zairi Zainal over the issue at the media conference room at the Parliament building between 2.45pm and 3.30pm on July 4, 2019.

The charge, framed under Section 32(8)c) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, provides a maximum fine of RM3 million, imprisonment for up to five years, or both, upon conviction.

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