Former judge, businessman fail to recover RM182,100 seized by MACC

PUTRAJAYA – A former judge and a businessman today failed again in their appeals to recover  RM182,100 that was seized by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) four years ago.

This followed a decision by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal chaired by Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera in dismissing the appeals by Azmil Muntapha Abas, 49, and Leong Peng Woon, 68, and upholding the decision of the Shah Alam High Court which dismissed the duo’s appeal to recover the money.

Vazeer Alam, sitting with Judge Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Datuk S.M. Komathy Suppiah, in a unanimous decision, said there was no error in the High Court’s decision and that the respondent (prosecutor) had proved that the application to forfeit the right to the money was in accordance with the law.

“We are also satisfied that the claims of the two appellants have also been considered by both courts (High Court and Sessions Court) and the decision reached by the court is based on the correct facts and law.

“Therefore, the appeals of both appellants are rejected,” said Judge Vazeer Alam.

On Nov 23, 2021, the Sessions Court allowed the government’s application to forfeit the money that was found in Azmil Muntapha’s office during a raid conducted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)  in 2019.

Azmil Muntapha, who was then the Judge of the Kuala Kubu Bharu Sessions Court, claimed that he obtained the money from Leong, who is a contractor, through a loan amounting to RM200,000 to buy a house which was on auction in Hulu Selangor.

Azmil Muntapha and Leong then appealed against the decision in the High Court, which dismissed the appeals last April 10.

Earlier,  lawyer Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud, representing the two appellants, ‘submitted that the RM182,100 cannot be taken arbitrarily, but can only be forfeited if the appellants failed to prove that it was clean money.

“The money is not related to official business but a loan from a friend for the purchase of a house in Hulu Selangor. The money has nothing to do with the corruption charge against the first appellant (Azmil Muntapha),” he said.

Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Fauziah Daud said as stated in the investigating officer’s affidavit, the money was confiscated in connection with an offence under Section 17 (a) of the MACC Act 2009, which is obtaining a bribe from an agent.

“The first appellant stated that the money was borrowed from the second appellant (Leong), but the money in question was found in a very suspicious place, namely in the judge’s chambers.

“Therefore, we are satisfied with the MACC’s investigation which found that the money was from illegal sources,” she said.

On Oct 19, 2022, Azmil was sentenced to six months in prison and fined RM25,000 by the Shah Alam Sessions Court after he was found guilty of corruption.

Azmil Muntapha was charged in his capacity as a Sessions Court judge to have obtained for himself  RM5,000 without consideration from a person whom he knew had a connection with his official function involving court proceedings of six accused in criminal cases.

He appealed against the decision and the Shah Alam High Court reduced the sentence to one day jail and a fine of RM12,000. – BERNAMA