By Bernama | Malaysiakini
The Kuala Lumpur High Court was today told that the three corruption and 10 money laundering charges faced by the former Tabung Haji chairperson Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim were defective, groundless and made in bad faith.
Abdul Azeez’s (above) counsel, Amer Hamzah Arshad, in his submissions said the first charge under section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act was defective because it combines and involves four different projects in one charge.
“For the first to ninth amended charges for money laundering, the prosecution had failed to state in what form or how such money or proceeds were received by the applicant… there is no specific date or location.
“All the money laundering charges have failed in the predicate offences amounting to illegal activities,” he said during the hearing on the application by Abdul Azeez to quash the three corruption charges and 10 money laundering charges before judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin.
Amer Hamzah said after the 14th general election in May 2018, the MACC raided Abdul Azeez’s house pursuant to a report received by the agency.
However, he said the MACC did not record any statement from Abdul Azeez and this was confirmed by the prosecution via an affidavit in reply by the investigating officer in the case.
“There was certainly no reasonable suspicion at that point in time as the applicant was never questioned about the commission of any offence,” the lawyer said.
Amer Hamzah said Abdul Azeez was initially arrested for investigations into the embezzlement of Tabung Haji funds, but in the charges he faces, there was no single mention of Tabung Haji.
He said during the entire period when Abdul Azeez was arrested and released on police bail, the MACC had come up with a narrative that the investigation was related to Tabung Haji and this could be seen from the media reports relating to the arrest and in the investigation against the applicant.
“Even if such reports were untrue, there was no denial or clarification made by the MACC. MACC painted the applicant as being someone investigated for allegedly doing some unlawful act in relation to Tabung Haji,” he said.
He added that the charges against Abdul Azeez were instituted in bad faith to tarnish his reputation as the Baling member of Parliament.
Abdul Azeez, 54, as the applicant filed an application to quash the 13 charges against him on Dec 11 last year.
Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Aslinda Ahad said the prosecution objected to Abdul Azeez’s application to quash all the charges as besides being premature, it was without basis.
“The trial has begun in the Sessions Court with five prosecution witnesses called to testify. Although they are formal witnesses, they carry their own evidence.
“The charges also clearly state how the applicant committed corruption by accepting bribes on the date and place stated.
“Combining four different projects in a single charge under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act does not make the charge flawed.
“Besides that, the applicant also stated that the amended charge was defective, but it had not harmed the prosecution’s case because the applicant was never prejudiced by the defect in which he was able to handle his defence during the trial and even challenge the testimony of prosecution witnesses,” he said.
Judge Muhammad Jamil then fixed March 12 to deliver his decision.
Abdul Azeez, 54, is charged with three counts of accepting bribes totalling RM5.2 million in connection with road projects in Perak and Kedah as well as 10 counts of money laundering.
He is accused of committing the offence at CIMB Bank, Jalan Tun Perak in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 8, 2010, and at Affin Bank, Pusat Bandar Puchong in Selangor on June 13, 2017, and April 10, 2018, while the money laundering offences were allegedly committed in the Klang Valley area between March 8, 2010, and Aug 30, 2018.