PUTRAJAYA: Former Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim will find out tomorrow whether the Court of Appeal will allow or reject the appeal to strike out the 13 corruption and money laundering charges he is facing.
A panel of three judges headed by Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md. Said who sat with Datuk Abu Bakar Jais and Datuk Che Mohd. Ruzima Ghazali will determine whether MP Baling is acquitted of the charges.
If the appeal is upheld, Abdul Azeez, 55, will be acquitted of three counts of accepting bribes worth RM5.2 million in connection with road projects in Perak and Kedah and 10 counts of money laundering money involving 13.9 million lei.
On the other hand, if the appeal is dismissed, Member of Parliament Baling will continue to be tried in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.
The trial before Judge Azura Alwi has so far heard testimony from seven prosecution witnesses at the trial which began on 19 August 2020.
If the decision is not in his favour, Abdul Azeez still has a chance to appeal to the Federal Court, as the application which was initially presented at the High Court, has reached the highest court in the country.
Abdul Azeez had no choice but to appear in court to hear the decision as the appeal had been adjourned several times and the bench had already granted the final adjournment.
During the proceedings on August 26, Justice Abu Bakar drew the court’s attention that the panel was ready to announce the appeal decision.
However, the decision was postponed after Amer Hamzah Arshad’s lawyer informed Abdul Azeez that he was not present as he was being treated at the University of Malaya Medical Center (PPUM) after being attacked by a stomach ailment.
Proceedings were previously delayed several times after the defense side was still waiting for a response from the Attorney General’s Office (AGC) on the four complaints submitted for examination.
“Hopefully there will be a response from the AGC. They can accept or reject the representation submitted if it is weak,” Amer Hamzah said during the August 26 proceedings.
Justice Kamaludin at the time also stated that the case was taking a long time and the AGC needed to answer whether the representation was allowed or rejected so that the court could make a decision on the appeal.
“This case has been postponed many times, the Attorney General or anyone else has to answer. If you refuse, refuse as long as there is an answer. Otherwise, it will simply stall,” said Hakim Kamaludin.
On July 1, the panel adjourned the appeal decision to allow the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to examine new leads on the corruption and money laundering charges Abdul Azeez is facing.
The appeal proceedings, which began on 6 September 2021, were told, among other things, that the charges facing Abdul Azeez were baseless, flawed, vague and lacking in detail as they only specified the location around the Klang Valley.
However, on 6 October 2021, Deputy Public Prosecutor Aslinda Ahad argued that the trial would not prejudice Abdul Azeez as the prosecution would call witnesses to prove the case and the witnesses would be cross-examined by lawyers.
On 12 March 2021, Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin, when dismissing Abdul Azeez’s application to quash the charges, said the court found that all the charges were untainted and based on the provisions of the law.
Abdul Azeez faces three charges of receiving bribes amounting to RM5.2 million in relation to road projects in Perak and Kedah involving the Pantai Baru Coastal Highway and the upgrading of Federal Road FT005 (Teluk Intan to Kampung Lekir, Perak).
He was accused of committing the offense at CIMB Bank, Jalan Tun Perak in the capital on Dec 8, 2010 and at Affin Bank, Pusat Bandar Puchong, Selangor on June 13, 2017 and April 10, 2018.
He was also charged with 10 counts of money laundering involving a total of RM13.9 million received from Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd.
The alleged money laundering offense was committed in the Klang Valley area between March 8, 2010 and August 30, 2018. – MESSENGER