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Ex-ministry senior officer jailed 15 years, fined RM284 million for corruption, money laundering

Otman Arsahd, formerly with the youth and sports ministry, is convicted of 32 counts of abuse of power and submitting false claims.

Bernama
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Former youth and sports ministry finance division secretary Otman Arshad (right) was found guilty by the Sessions Court today on 32 counts of abuse of power an32 charges of abuse of power and submitting false claims as well as 64 charges of money laundering. Photo: Bernama
Former youth and sports ministry finance division secretary Otman Arshad (right) was found guilty by the Sessions Court today on 32 counts of abuse of power an32 charges of abuse of power and submitting false claims as well as 64 charges of money laundering. Photo: Bernama

Former secretary of the finance division of the youth and sports ministry, Otman Arsahd was found guilty by the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur today on 32 charges of corruption and 64 charges of money laundering and sentenced to 15 years in jail and fined RM284.2 million.

Judge Kamarudin Kamsun handed down the sentence on Otman, 64, after finding that the prosecution had succeeded in proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt at the end of the defence case.

"After hearing the sworn statements from all the witnesses and examining all the exhibits and arguments presented, the court decided that the defence failed to raise reasonable doubts against the prosecution's case.

"Therefore, the accused is found guilty and convicted of all the charges brought against him," said Kamarudin.

Of the 32 charges of corruption, 17 counts were for submitting false claims, for which Otman was sentenced to a total of 243 years in jail and a fine totalling RM190 million, in default 119 months in jail, while for the 15 charges, which were for misusing his position, he was sentenced to 85 years imprisonment and fined RM10.8 million, in default 125 months in jail.

Meanwhile, for the 64 money laundering charges involving receiving proceeds from unlawful activities, the court ordered Otman to be jailed between three months and 11 years on each count and fined a total of RM83.4 million, in default 934 months.

However, Kamarudin ordered all the prison sentences to be served concurrently starting today, meaning he will only be in jail for 15 years.

The judge also allowed an application by lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, representing Otman, for a stay of the execution of the fine and prison sentence with the bail increased by RM300,000 in one surety, with RM100,000 to be paid today and the balance before or on July 10.

Kamarudin also allowed an application by the prosecution to forfeit all 119 assets, including bracelets, rings, watches and cash to the Malaysian government in accordance with Section 40(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

The judge also allowed a gazette to be issued to allow third parties with interests to claim the assets, such as Hermes Birkin and Prada luxury handbags, luxury vehicles and cash and set Sept 26 as the mention date.

Earlier, during mitigation, Rafique asked the court to take into account his client's situation, saying that Othman was now jobless and relied on this family since he was accused in 2016.

"For seven years, he only focused on attending the hearing of his case and never failed to appear in court throughout the trial," said the lawyer and requested a stay of the execution of the prison sentence and fine imposed on his client pending an appeal at the High Court.

Deputy public prosecutor Farah Yasmin Salleh requested the court to impose a deterrent sentence as a lesson to society, especially civil servants.
 
"Not even once did the accused mention in his mitigation that he is remorse for what he did... the fund that was misused should have been for the development of the country's sports and athletes," she said, adding that the hearing of the case took almost eight years.

Otman, who wore a white striped shirt, appeared calm throughout the proceeding today.

On March 31, 2016, Otman was charged with 32 counts of abuse of power and with submitting false claims involving RM38.4 million at the National Sports Council Office, Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex in Kuala Lumpur between Feb 28, 2012, and Nov 18, 2015.

Seventeen of the charges involved submitting false claims which were framed under Section 18 (a) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, while the other 15 charges were for misusing his position and framed under Section 23(1) of the same law.

On April 2016, Otman was charged with 64 counts of receiving RM16,623,000 in proceeds from unlawful activities through cheques that were deposited into his Maybank, RHB and CIMB Berhad accounts between March 7, 2012, and Dec 11, 2015.
 
He was alleged to have committed the offences at different locations, including the RHB Bank branch in Precinct 8, Putrajaya, Menara Maybank, Jalan Tun Perak and the Maybank branch in Jalan Raja.

The charges were framed under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which carries a maximum jail term of 15 years, or a fine not less than five times the sum of the proceeds from unlawful activities if convicted.

Also appearing for the prosecution were deputy public prosecutors Norzilati Izhani Zainal, Haresh Prakash Somiah and Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong.

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