By Malay Mail

Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex February 23, 2021. — AHMAD ZAMZAHURI

The corruption and money laundering charges preferred against former Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim could not stand as the politician was gainfully employed with Syarikat Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd, the Court of Appeal here heard today.

His counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad said a financial analysis report by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) showed that Abdul Azeez was part of the company and he received lawful remuneration and he paid his income tax.

“I submit at the face of this report which has not been challenged by the MACC, that clearly they have accepted that he (Abdul Azeez) was gainfully employed by Menuju Asas and received lawful income,” he said in the appeal before a three-member bench led by Justice Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said.

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

Amer said based on this fact, one could not blow hot and cold, adding that they acknowledged that Abdul Azeez received lawful remuneration from the company that he was connected to and now they charged him for receiving unlawful proceeds from the same employer.

“That clearly cannot hold any water without even going for a full trial,” he said, adding that none of the corruption and money laundering charges could stand in any court of law.

Abdul Azeez, 55, is appealing against the High Court’s dismissal of his application to strike out the three bribery charges involving RM5.2 million linked to road projects in Perak and Kedah, and 10 money-laundering charges involving a total of RM13.9 million which he was accused of receiving from Menuju Asas.

He is alleged to have committed the offences at CIMB Bank, Jalan Tun Perak in Kuala Lumpur on December 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 charged with committing the offences in the Klang Valley area between March 8, 2010 and August 30, 2018.

His brother, Datuk Abdul Latif was initially charged with abetting him on two counts of obtaining a RM4 million bribe as gratification to help Menuju Asas to secure road projects through limited tender from the Works Ministry.

He (Abdul Latif) was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal in February following an application made by the prosecution.

In today’s proceeding conducted virtually, Amer Hamzah also argued that the amended money laundering charges lacked particulars which hampered his client’s ability to mount an effective defence against the charges.

He said the prosecution should state in the charges in what form and how much money was received by Abdul Azeez, for example, by cash, banker’s cheque and whether such monies were given to him by hand or deposited in bank accounts but this was not stated in the charges.

Amer Hamzah also said that the charge against Abdul Azeez alleging that he (Abdul Azeez) corruptly received gratification as a reward for him to assist Menuju Asas to obtain government projects did not show any corruption offence by his client.

“There is nothing stated in the charge to show that the appellant (Abdul Azeez) had used his position to ensure that Menuju Asas would secure or would have the upper hand in obtaining the said projects,” he added.

Justice Kamaludin then fixed Oct 6 to resume hearing of the appeal as they requested the deputy public prosecutor Aslinda Ahad to include the issues that were submitted by Amer Hamzah in court today in her written submission.

Aslinda told the court that not all the issues were included in her written submission and said she wished to reply to these issues orally but the panel indicated that they preferred that the prosecution address the issues in the written submission as it involved important issues.