Decision on Azeez's bid to throw out corruption, money laundering case postponed to Aug 26

KOUSALYA SELVAM
KOUSALYA SELVAM
01 Jul 2022 10:14am
Abdul Azeez. Photo: BERNAMA FILE PIX
Abdul Azeez. Photo: BERNAMA FILE PIX
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PUTRAJAYA - The Court of Appeal has postponed its decision on Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim’s appeal to strike out his corruption and money laundering charges to Aug 26.

This was after a three-man bench led by Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said allowed an application by the former Tabung Haji chairman’s defence team.

Earlier, Azeez’s lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad told the court that the defence needed more time as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was looking into new leads involving the case and that the commission was set to brief the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on the new development.

Amer said this was following a reply the defence received from the anti-graft agency on June 27 in relation to the Baling MP’s representation letter to the AGC.

"Based on the development, we humbly request for the court to postpone today's decision. I understand that the prosecution has no objection ti this matter,” he said.

Deputy public prosecutor Azlinda Ahad confirmed that the prosecution has no objections to the postponement as it also needed time to make a more thorough investigation.

The court then fixed Aug 26 for decision.

It was supposed to deliver its verdict today and this would be the third postponement.

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Kamaludin stressed that this would be the last adjournment as the case has been going on for too long.

“I urge the MACC to come up with a decision as soon as possible,” he said.

The other judges who presided were judges Datuk Abu Bakar Jais and Datuk Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali.

Azeez is appealing against the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision rejecting his application to strike out all his 13 charges on grounds that they were defective, groundless and the prosecution against him was made in bad faith.

He filed the application on Dec 11, 2020.

On March 12, last year, the High Court dismissed his application ruling that the charges against him were not defective and the prosecution against him was in accordance to the law.

The court however on April 12, the same year, allowed his application for a stay of his trial at the Sessions Court pending his appeal at the Court of Appeal over the High Court's decision.

On Jan 16, 2019, Azeez, 55, was charged with three counts of accepting bribes totalling RM5.2 million in connection with road projects in Perak and Kedah as well as 10 counts of money laundering.

He was accused of committing the bribery offences at CIMB Bank, Jalan Tun Perak in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 8, 2010, and at Affin Bank, Pusat Bandar Puchong in Selangor on June 13, 2017, and April 10, 2018.

Meanwhile, according to the charge sheet, the money laundering offences were allegedly committed in the Klang Valley area between March 8, 2010, and Aug 30, 2018.

He was initially charged together with his brother, Abdul Latif, 63, who was accused with abetting him (Azeez) in obtaining a RM4 million bribe from one Mohammad Redzuan Mohanan Abdullah as gratification to help Syarikat Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd secure road projects through limited tender from the Works Ministry.

The project involved the Pantai Baru Coastal Expressway Project, upgrading works of Federal Road FT005 ( Teluk Intan to Kampung Lekir, Perak) valued at RM644,480,000.

However, on Feb 8, last year, Abdul Latif was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) of the abetment charges to become a witness against his brother.

The trial commenced at the Sessions Court on Aug 19, 2020, whereby seven prosecution witnesses had testified before the trial was adjourned pending the outcome of his appeal.