By Sharanjit Singh | New Straits Times
The Court of Appeal (COA) today shot down former Tabung Haji Chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim’s request to explain why he had been absent from court last week and express his unhappiness over media reports on the matter.
However, his request — made through his lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad — did not amuse the panel of three judges who were set to announce their decision on the Baling Member of Parliament’s application to strike out corruption and money laundering charges against him.
Chairman of the panel Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said cut off Amer as the lawyer was in the middle of his sentence trying to convince the judges why his client should be allowed to speak.
“My client would like to explain what transpired last week. There have been unfair media reporting on why the hearing had to be adjourned…,” he said when the judge stopped him.
Kamaludin: You have a counsel representing you. He can speak. This is not the proper forum for you to make a speech. You can explain outside…let’s not waste time. Sorry ya Datuk Seri
Amer: I would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused
Kamaludin: Alright, Alright
It was previously reported that the COA had voiced its unhappiness after Abdul Azeez failed to turn up in court to hear the court’s decision over his appeal to strike out the corruption and money laundering charges he was facing.
The court had then made it clear that he should not abuse the court process.
Kamaludin had then said that it was unbecoming of the politician not to turn up in court as the case had been postponed many times.
“We don’t dispute his health condition but don’t abuse the process,” he had said then.
The court was supposed to decide on the matter last month but it was postponed after Amer told the panel that he had made representations to the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) for the charges against his client to be dropped.
However, he said the AGC had failed to reply to any of the four letters of representation that he sent to the chambers.
“We were hoping for a final decision from the AGC but we have received nothing at all,” he said.
He said the letters of representation were sent to the AGC after he was informed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) that there were new leads that they were looking into and that MACC was set to brief the AGC on the new development.
The Baling Member of Parliament is facing three corruption charges involving RM5.2 million and 10 money laundering offences involving RM13.9 million.
The corruption charges faced by Abdul Azeez, 55, are in connection with road projects in Perak and Kedah while the money-laundering charges involve money which he allegedly received from a company called Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd.
He was accused of corruptly receiving the money at the CIMB Bank, Jalan Tun Perak in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 8, 2010, and at Affin Bank, Puchong City Centre, Selangor, on June 13, 2017, and April 10, 2018.
On the money laundering charges, Abdul Azeez was accused of committing the offences in the Klang Valley between March 8, 2010, and Aug 30, 2018.
He has sought the COA’s intervention to have the charges against him dropped after pleading that he had been accused in bad faith.
The COA is set to deliver its decision on Abdul Azeez’s decision shortly.