Shahrir, Ahmad charged with money laundering over cheques from Najib

Both have been accused under the AMLATFPUAA 2001 (Act 613) after failing to declare earnings of RM1m and RM2m respectively

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

TAN Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad and Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan were charged with money laundering by failing to declare incomes allegedly sourced from criminal activities.

Shahrir and Ahmad have been accused under the Anti-Money Laundering, AntiTerrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA 2001) (Act 613), after failing to declare earnings of RM1 million and RM2 million respectively.

The two Umno leaders had allegedly received the monies from former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak via cheques. The cheque to Shahrir was dated Nov 28, 2013, while to Ahmad, on Nov 27 of the same year.

Ahmad was also charged with another count of money laundering for giving false statements to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the alleged offence.

The prosecutor said Ahmad’s statements to the MACC’s investigating officer were false, therefore an offence was committed under Act 613.

His claims were, among others, that he never received the cheque in question from Najib; never seeing or knowing about it; and that he never cashed the cheque.

Both Ahmad and Shahrir pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

Shahrir, the Johor Baru Umno division chief, was released on bail of RM350,000 with one surety. His passport was also impounded. Meanwhile, Ahmad was released on a RM500,000 bail with one surety and the Pontian MP’s passport was also taken into custody.

Both were charged at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court yesterday. Scores of Umno leaders including president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, secretary general Tan Sri Annuar Musa, Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, and Supreme Council members Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, Tan Sri Noh Omar, Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and Datuk Lokman Noor Adam came to show support.

Judge Azura Alwi fixed Feb 24 for Shahrir’s case management. Separately, Judge Azman Ahmad scheduled Feb 21 for Ahmad’s case mention.

Shahrir and Ahmad face a maximum fine of RM5 million or a maximum five-year jail sentence, or both, if convicted.

The two looked jovial despite the criminal charges levelled against them.

Ahmad, who was a former deputy international trade and industry minister, recited an impromptu pantun outside the courtroom, insisting his innocence and that he was a victim of tyranny.

His lawyer told reporters that there was no mention of 1Malaysia Development Bhd in the charge sheet to link the two.

In June last year, Umno Johor liaison committee and Johor Baru Barisan Nasional division were among the 41 individuals and entities that the MACC named to have directly received money from Najib.

The graft buster filed forfeiture suits against the 41 parties to recover RM270 million disbursed from the account.