By The Star

Former Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (pic) has been acquitted of three charges of corruption and six charges of money laundering in connection with road projects in Perak and Kedah.

High Court judicial commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid ordered Abdul Azeez to be freed after allowing a notice of motion filed by his lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad seeking the immediate release of his client.

“Since there is no objection from the prosecution, the applicant is now released and acquitted of all the charges,” said Azhar.

Last Sept 23, Abdul Azeez was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Sessions Court on the nine charges.

Judge Azura Alwi made the ruling after Deputy Public Prosecutor Aslinda Ahad requested the court to discharge without acquitting Abdul Azeez under section 254(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code on the grounds that the representation submitted by Abdul Azeez had been considered and required further investigation.

Earlier, Amer Hamzah told the court that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), through a letter dated Oct 26, said it had completed its investigation and that all seized assets had been returned to Abdul Azeez.

Bernama reported that Deputy Public Prosecutor Nik Haslinie Hashim said the prosecution had no objection to the notice of motion, which was filed last Dec 1, seeking the acquittal of the applicant on all charges.

Abdul Azeez, 55, was charged with three counts of accepting bribes amounting to RM5.2mil and six charges of money laundering amounting to RM972,414.60 in relation to road projects in Perak and Kedah, with the offences allegedly committed at five banks in the federal capital between Sept 6, 2010, and April 10, 2018.

The charges were framed under section 16(a)(A) and section 28(1)(c) of the MACC Act 2009, which provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value of the bribe, if found guilty.

The money laundering charges were framed under section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorist Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which is punishable under section 4(1) of the same law.

The law provides for imprisonment of up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value of the proceeds of the illegal activity or RM5mil, whichever is higher, if found guilty.

On Sept 5, Abdul Azeez failed in his bid at the Court of Appeal to quash the three charges of corruption and six charges of money laundering made against him.

A three-judge panel consisting of Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said, Datuk Abu Bakar Jais, and Datuk Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali dismissed Abdul Azeez’s appeal to quash the nine charges after ruling that the charges were not defective and ordered the trial of the case in the Sessions Court to continue.

However, the panel allowed Abdul Azeez’s appeal to strike out four money laundering charges. Hearing of the case began on Aug 19, 2020, with seven prosecution witnesses called to testify.

Separately, the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) said there was no evidence or facts to support the prosecution’s graft case against Abdul Azeez, following new investigations by the MACC.

The AGC said since the case was filed, Abdul Azeez had submitted several representations through his lawyers, asking for the charges against him to be dropped.

“However, through letters of representation dated March 11, 2022, and March 16, 2022, the prosecution received six statutory declarations from key witnesses which must lead to a thorough investigation by the MACC as there was new evidence that was not considered before,” it said in a statement yesterday.

“Upon review, the prosecution was satisfied that there was no evidence and facts in favor of the prosecution,” the AGC added.