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Sabah water graft trial put off to next year

 | August 11, 2017

Sessions Court judge Abu Bakar allows a 6-month postponement to enable the accused to prepare their defence in the RM61 million case.

sabah-waterKOTA KINABALU: The Sessions Court here today postponed the trial of a former Sabah State Water Department (JANS) director and two others, who are accused of money-laundering, to next year.

Judge Abu Bakar Manat fixed 17 days, from Feb 5 to March 22, to allow the defence to clear all “housekeeping matters” in preparation for the trial.

“Once the trial dates are fixed, the court will not entertain any postponement unless there is a near-death situation. Therefore, ample time is given for all matters (on the case) to be resolved,” he said.

On Feb 28, Abu Bakar had fixed 16 days from July 4 to Aug 25 this year for the trial.

In the dock are former JANS director Awang Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, 55, his wife Fauziah Awang Piut, 52, and Sabah Ministry of Finance’s technical and engineering adviser Lim Lam Beng, 63.

They claimed trial to charges of laundering RM61.48 million and owning luxury goods from illegal activities.

The charges are made under Section 4 (1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, which carries a maximum 15-year imprisonment and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value of the proceeds from illegal activities or equipment, or RM5 million, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Counsel PJ Pereira, who represented Awang Mohd Tahir and Fauziah, asked for the trial to be postponed for at least six months from today to allow Awang Mohd Tahir’s accountant to prepare a report stating that RM30 million had belonged to him (Awang Mohd Tahir).

Lim’s counsel Baldev Singh also told the judge he required time to sort out matters on his client’s application to the Kota Kinabalu High Court to bring in a lead counsel from the peninsula for the trial.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission deputy public prosecutor Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abdul Rahman said although the prosecution was ready to begin trial as soon as possible, they did not object to the postponement.

Tengku Amir Zaki told the court the prosecution would call 215 witnesses to testify.


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