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Graft trial dates for ex-Tabung Haji chairman, brother fixed for 13 days from March 16, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 12): The Sessions Court has today fixed 13 days of trial for former Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (pictured) and his brother Datuk Abdul Latif Abdul Rahim's graft and money laundering cases, beginning from March 16 next year.

Sessions judge Azura Alwi fixed March 16 to 20, April 1 to 3, May 18 to 20, and June 29 and 30 as the trial dates for the cases.

The duo was represented by lawyers Hisyam Teh Poh Teik and M Athimulan.

It was previously reported last month that the prosecution failed in its application to transfer the cases from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

In dismissing the prosecution's application, High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said it does not appear that there is any novelty in points of law in the charges against the siblings.

"Cases under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 [MACC Act] and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 [AMLATFAPUA] are regularly tried by the Sessions Court throughout the country. The Sessions Courts are no less competent to try the cases against both accused," he ruled.

"I fail to see how the fact that the trial will be conducted at the Sessions Courts would cause any prejudice to the both accused or the prosecution. I dismiss the application to transfer the cases to the High Court," the judge said.

Abdul Azeez, 52, who is also Baling MP, claimed trial last January to accepting bribes totalling RM5.2 million in connection with road projects, and nine counts of money laundering involving nearly RM140 million.

Abdul Azeez allegedly committed the corruption offences at the CIMB Bank, UAB Tower branch, No. 6, Jalan Tun Perak here on Dec 8, 2010 and at Affin Bank Bhd, J-03-G, Block J, Setiawalk, Persiaran Wawasan, Pusat Bandar Puchong, Petaling, Selangor on June 13, 2017 and April 10, 2018.

Meanwhile, he is accused of committing the money laundering offences around the Klang Valley between March 8, 2010 and Aug 30, 2018.

The three charges are framed under Section 16(a)(A) of the MACC Act while the nine charges are under Section 4(1)(b) of the AMLATFPUA.

Meanwhile, Abdul Latif, 61, faces two charges of abetting Abdul Azeez, who allegedly received RM4 million in cash from one Mohammad Redzuan as gratification to help Syarikat Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd secure a road project through limited tender from the Works Ministry.

The project involved the Pantai Baru Coastal Expressway: Upgrading Works of Federal Road FT005 (Teluk Intan to Kampung Lekir, Perak) worth RM644.48 million.

Both offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank Bhd, J-03-G, Block J, Setiawalk, Persiaran Wawasan, Pusat Bandar Puchong, Petaling, Selangor between June 13, 2017 and April 10, 2018.

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