By V. Anbalagan | Free Malaysia Today

Former Tabung Haji chairman Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim is accused of three corruption charges amounting to RM5.2 million and 10 money laundering charges totalling RM13.9 million. BERNAMA

The corruption and money laundering charges amounting to RM19.1 million filed against Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim should be dropped as they are defective and groundless, the Court of Appeal heard today.

Lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad said the charges were defective as they lacked details and were groundless and without basis.

Amer, who was assisted by Joshua Tay, also submitted that the charges were made mala fide (in bad faith).

“The accused will be denied a fair trial as guaranteed under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution. The charges must be very clear for him to put to his defence,” he said before a three-member bench chaired by Kamaludin Md Said.

The other judges were Abu Bakar Jais and Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali.

Amer said the alleged corruption that took place in the Klang Valley was also too general while the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had stated in a report that the money received was a lawful remuneration.

Azeez, the former Tabung Haji chairman, was slapped with three corruption charges amounting to RM5.2 million and 10 money laundering charges amounting to RM13.9 million.

He is said to have received the RM5.2 million from Mohammad Redzuan Mohanan Abdullah, a director of Syarikat Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd, in the Klang Valley between December 2010 and April 2018.

He is also accused of receiving RM13.9 million from Syarikat Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd.

Amer said nine of the 10 money laundering charges failed to spell out the sources of the alleged unlawful proceeds.

“This is a clear non-compliance of the law,” he said.

He said the corruption charges were defective but the High Court had, in a ruling, held that it was a mere irregularity and could be “cured” as allowed under the law.

Kamaludin then asked Amer whether the prosecution should be allowed to prove its prima facie and for the trial judge to rule at the close of the prosecution’s case.

“They (the prosecution) are gone if they cannot prove their case, but to allow your appeal will also set a dangerous precedent,” he said.

Amer said only seven witnesses had been called and they had not helped the prosecution to prove the ingredient of the charges.

Bakar also asked Amer why the defence did not want to raise all the points during the trial.

Amer replied that he was entrusted with the case after the witnesses had given their evidence and he had proceeded to file an application to strike out the charges.

The bench then ordered Deputy Public Prosecutor Aslinda Ahad to file a written submission in reply to points raised by Amer today.

“Amer has raised good points. We have to write a judgment as any decision will bind (it to) the lower courts,” he said, adding that parties should put in their submissions by Sept 20.

Oral submission has been adjourned to Oct 6.

Azeez has been exempted from attending the proceedings as he has to be in the Dewan Rakyat.

On March 12, High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin turned down Azeez’s striking-out application on grounds the charges were not defective.

“The accused failed to show how he was prejudiced and could not present his defence. It is premature at this stage for the court to decide on the charges,” he said.

Jamil said MACC had investigated Azeez thoroughly and there was no mala fide.

The judge said the Attorney General, who was also the Public Prosecutor, had the discretion to commence any criminal proceedings against accused persons, under any law he deemed proper.

Azeez had also obtained a stay of proceedings in the Sessions Court before judge Azura Alwi, pending the outcome of his appeal in the Court of Appeal.