KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 9): Former Lembaga Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim was given a full acquittal in his corruption and money-laundering case.
On Friday (Dec 9), judicial commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid allowed Abdul Azeez's application for a discharge and acquittal for nine charges — three corruption charges and six money-laundering charges — after deputy public prosecutor Nik Haslinie Hashim did not raise any objection.
"As there is no objection by the prosecution, the application is allowed. [Abdul Azeez] is now acquitted and discharged," Azhar said in his brief judgement.
Lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad, representing the former Baling Member of Parliament, informed the court that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had decided not to take any further action against his client.
He added that the investigation has been completed, and all the seized assets and property have also been returned to Abdul Azeez. The lawyer, however, did not specify what the assets and properties were.
In his application, Abdul Azeez also said given that the investigation against him was completed with no further action taken by the MACC, it was "unreasonable" to have the remaining charges "hanging over his head over an indefinite period".
On Sept 23, Abdul Azeez was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi, following a representation submitted by him.
He was initially charged with three charges of graft and 10 money-laundering charges. However, in early September, the Court of Appeal allowed his application to strike out four money-laundering charges.
It was reported that Abdul Azeez faced three counts of accepting bribes amounting to RM5.2 million and six charges of money laundering worth RM972,414.60 in relation to road projects in Perak and Kedah, for offences allegedly committed between Sept 2010 and April 2018.
The charges were framed under Section 16(a)(A) and Section 28(1)(c) of the MACC Act 2009, which provide an imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value of the bribe, if found guilty.
As for the money-laundering charges, they were framed under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which are punishable under Section 4(1) of the same Act.
The law provides an imprisonment for up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value of the proceeds of the illegal activity or RM5 million, whichever is higher, if found guilty.