By Free Malaysia Today

Former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman. – BERNAMA

The High Court here has freed former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman of his 46 corruption and money laundering charges in relation to timber concessions in the state.

Judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin made the decision during case mention today after the prosecution, represented by deputy public prosecutor Azhar Abdul Hamid, said it was withdrawing all charges against Musa.

Musa, who was chief minister from 2003 to 2018, claimed trial to 35 corruption charges on Nov 5, 2018. Of these, five were subsequently dropped.

He was accused of receiving bribes of between US$28,500 and US$16,148,547 from various individuals 12 to 16 years ago.

He was also slapped with 16 money laundering charges for allegedly receiving US$37 million from various individuals and companies from June 2006 to March 2008.

Speaking to reporters after case mention, lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad said Musa was cleared by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as well as Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption between 2008 and 2012.

“We have also explained what happened to the investigations in two countries in our affidavit for striking out,” he said.

“Former attorney-general (Abdul Gani Patail) also affirmed an affidavit to support our striking-out application against all Musa’s charges.”

He added that the money laundering and bribery charges, filed against Musa in late 2018, were an abuse of process as he had been cleared by investigators.

“We mentioned in our application that the charges were political in nature, and that this was political persecution,” he said, noting that Musa had been taken to the Sessions Court here a few days before the Kota Kinabalu High Court delivered its decision on his suit to challenge Shafie Apdal’s appointment as chief minister.

He said the defence was ready to proceed with the trial in September.

“If we succeed, the government of the day may face a malicious prosecution lawsuit,” he added.