The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today acquitted and discharged Umno legal adviser Mohd Hafarizam Harun of money laundering charges involving RM15 million which he allegedly received from former prime minister Najib Razak.
Judge Suzana Hussin made the ruling after deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff informed the court that the prosecution was withdrawing all three money laundering charges against Hafarizam, who agreed for the cases to be compounded.
“Based on the application from the deputy public prosecutor and the compound that had been settled in this case, the court acquitted and discharged the accused from all three charges, with the bail money (RM200,000) returned,” said Suzana.
Lawyer Hasnal Rezua Merican, representing Hafarizam, told the court that the compound offered by the prosecution had been settled and applied for his client to be acquitted and discharged of all three charges.
“Based on the principle that a compound cannot stand together with a charge, this means the offence committed has been settled through compound. When the compound has been paid, a new charge cannot be imposed, therefore I request for the court to acquit and discharge my client,” he said.
No objection was raised by the prosecution.
The case had been set for case management today and the court had set Aug 12 for the hearing.
Hasnal, when met by reporters, said the compound payment amounting to RM590,587.26 was settled by his client yesterday.
Hafarizam, 49, said he was grateful to Attorney-General Idrus Harun for agreeing to withdraw the charges against him, and to the court for acquitting and discharging him of the charges.
“I am very grateful to Allah because I finally get to continue my life as a free man. The charges have had a huge impact on my life, family and profession,” he added.
On the first count, Hafarizam was charged with receiving RM7.5 million in proceeds from unlawful activities through an AmIslamic Bank Bhd cheque dated April 16, 2014 belonging to Najib, which was deposited into the account of his legal firm, Messrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak.
The offence was allegedly committed at CIMB Bank Bhd, Putra World Trade Centre, Jalan Tun Ismail, on April 17, 2014.
The charge, framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, provided for imprisonment of up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of the proceeds from unlawful activities or RM5 million, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
For the second and third charge, Hafarizam was alleged to have received RM4 million and RM3.5 million in proceeds from unlawful activities through two cheques, dated Nov 7, 2014 and Jan 21, 2015, belonging to Najib which were deposited into the account of the same legal firm.
He was charged with committing the offences on Nov 12, 2014 and Feb 12, 2015, respectively, at the same place.
The charges were made under Section 4(1)(b) of the same law which also provides for imprisonment of up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of the proceeds from unlawful activities or RM5 million, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
On Aug 3 last year, Hafarizam was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal on two counts of money laundering involving RM15 million. However, he was charged again on the same day with three counts of similar charges involving the same amount.