By Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid | Malaysiakini
The Court of Appeal postponed to Aug 26 its decision over Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim’s appeal to strike out the corruption and money laundering case against him.
This followed the Baling MP’s legal team informing the Appellate Court this morning that the MACC is set to brief the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) over new developments on leads involving the case.
As Abdul Azeez (above) looked on from the dock, his counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad told the three-person bench chaired by Kamaluddin Md Said about the development via a letter from MACC dated June 27.
The lawyer explained that the defence previously sent a letter of representation to the AGC over the issue.
Under the law, a letter of representation is a mode whereby a party seeks alternate ways to resolve a court matter, such as a proposal for withdrawal of the criminal charge or for the accused to be charged for a lesser offence.
“They (AGC) have yet to decide (over the letter of representation). MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki said they (MACC) are looking into this issue and that certain aspects need (further) investigation, and they will brief the AGC in due course.
“Based on the reading of the MACC letter, I strongly believe the outcome of the representation would have an (impact) on the whole episode.
“If the AGC agrees with our representation, then there would be no need for this panel to deliberate,” Amer said while applying for today’s scheduled verdict to be postponed.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Aslinda Ahad then informed the court that the prosecution had instructions to not object to the defence’s postponement bid.
“There is development in the investigation where the Attorney General (AG) needs a bit more time to look into,” the prosecutor said.
Kamaluddin then reminded parties that the appeal had taken up a year already, with the panel previously set to decide in March this year but was vacated on request.
The panel — which included judges Abu Bakar Jais and Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali — then allowed the postponement to Aug 26.
New leads and evidence
When met by the media after proceedings, Amer explained that the MACC is looking into “new leads” in the case, which could possibly result in the withdrawal of the charges against Abdul Azeez.
“We have new leads and evidence presented to MACC. The charges were brought (against Abdul Azeez) by the previous AG,” the lawyer said.
The main case against the accused is still pending before the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court, which is set for mention on Aug 30.
The Appellate Court was initially set to deliver its verdict on Abdul Azeez’s appeal today.
Previously, the Court of Appeal had set March 21 to deliver its decision on Azeez’s appeal.
Azeez was facing three counts of accepting bribes of RM5.2 million in relation to road projects in Kedah and Perak.
He also faces 10 counts of money laundering involving RM13.9 million, which he purportedly received from Menuju Asas.
The graft offences were allegedly perpetrated at CIMB Bank, Jalan Tun Perak, Kuala Lumpur, on Dec 8, 2010, and at Affin Bank, Puchong City Centre, Selangor, on June 13, 2017, and April 10, 2018.
In relation to the money laundering charges, Azeez was alleged to have committed the offences in the Klang Valley area between March 8, 2010, and Aug 30, 2018.
Azeez’s brother Abdul Latif was initially charged with abetting him on two counts of obtaining an RM4 million bribe as gratification for aiding Menuju Asas to secure road projects via a limited tender from the Works Ministry.
However, following an application by the prosecution on Feb 8, the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court granted Latif a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA).
Latif then appealed to the High Court, which on Jan 19 this year allowed his appeal and converted the DNAA to a full acquittal.
Under the law, an accused granted a DNAA may still be charged with the same charge in future if the prosecution wishes to do so.