By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By BERNAMA
Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim has pleaded not guilty at the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Sessions Court yesterday on 12 charges, comprising of bribery and money-laundering totalling RM144.6 million.
Abdul Azeez, who is also ex-chairman of Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH), claimed trial for three counts of bribery totalling RM5.2 million related to road projects in Perak and Kedah, and nine money-laundering charges totalling RM139.4 million.
He was charged under Section 16(a)(A) of MACC Act 2009 and Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001.
On Tuesday, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) detained Abdul Azeez and his brother, Datuk Abdul Latif Abdul Rahim, in relation to corruption and money-laundering charges.
The duo, who arrived at the Jalan Duta Court Complex at 8am yesterday, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read separately to them before Sessions Court Judge Azura Alwi.
He was accused of receiving the kickbacks from Syarikat Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd between December 2010 and April 2018, as inducement for the company to obtain RM197.8 million worth of road projects in Kedah and Perak from the government through direct negotiation and selective tender.
Abdul Azeez was also accused of receiving RM4 million in two transactions from the same entity as a reward for him assisting the company to obtain road projects worth RM842.2 million through
limited tender from the Works Ministry.
As for the money-laundering charges, Abdul Azeez was alleged to have received proceeds through unlawful activities totalling RM139.4 millions from several companies, between March 2010 and August 2018.
All the offences were allegedly committed in the Klang Valley between March 8, 2010, and Aug 30, 2018.
The charges were filed under Section 4(1)(b) of AMLATFPUAA 2001, which provides an imprisonment for up to 15 years and fine of not less than five times the value of the proceeds obtained or RM5 million, whichever is higher, if found guilty.
Meanwhile, his brother, Abdul Latif, was accused of abetting him on two counts in obtaining the RM4 million bribe in two transactions from Menuju Asas, between June 2017 and April last year.
The charges, under Section 28(1)(c) of the MACC Act, carries a maximum 20 years of imprisonment and a fine not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram suggested the court to fix RM800,000 and RM500,000 bails against Abdul Azeez and Abdul Latif.
He also told the court that the prosecution would apply for the cases to be transferred to the High Court.
Counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who represented the duo, agreed with the bails offered by the prosecution. The court set March 27 for mention.
Abdul Azeez was appointed as a member of TH director in 2011 and was made the pilgrimage fund’s chairman in July 2013. He resigned from the position in May 2018; 14 months ahead of his contract expired.
Prior to the resignation, MACC had raided three of Abdul Azeez’s properties in Subang Jaya, Baling and KL, and seized RM500,000 in cash and over 20 wrist watches.
In addition, various denominations from 20 different foreign currencies including taka (Bangladesh), rufiya (Maldives), riyal (Arab Saudi) and pounds, totalling RM1.2 million, were also confiscated from the three locations.
On Sept 25, Abdul Azeez, his brother and cousin, Mohamad Nazri Osman were detained and remanded for four days by MACC to assist in the several corruption or money laundering cases.