Ex-Tabung Haji chief claims trial to corruption, money laundering

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Tabung Haji (TH) chairman Azeez Abdul Rahim claimed trial at the Sessions Court here today to 12 charges of corruption and money laundering in government projects.

He was slapped with three charges of accepting bribes worth RM5.2 million under Section 16 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, and nine for money laundering amounting to RM139.34 million under Section 4 (1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act.

He was accused of receiving RM5.2 million from Mohammad Redzuan Mohanan Abdullah, the director of Syarikat Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd, in the Klang Valley between December 2010 and April last year.

The money allegedly paid to Azeez was said to be an inducement to allow Menuju Asas to obtain RM842.3 million worth of road upgrade projects in Kedah and Perak through direct negotiations.

The money laundering offences meanwhile were said to have taken place between March 2010 and August last year.

Azeez was accused of receiving RM139.34 million from four companies, namely Syarikat Menuju Asas, Mangkubumi Sdn Bhd, Pintas Utama Sdn Bhd and AVP Engineering Sdn Bhd.

If found guilty of receiving the bribe, he could face a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of up to five times the amount received.

For the money laundering offences, he faces a maximum jail term of 15 years and RM5 million fine, if convicted.

Azeez’s brother, Latif Abdul Rahim, was accused of abetting him on two counts in obtaining a RM4 million bribe, part of the RM5.2 million allegedly received by the Umno Supreme Council member. He claimed trial to both charges.

If convicted, he, too, faces a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine of up to five times the amount received.

Fiat prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram sought for the bribery and money laundering charges to be heard together. The prosecution also sought RM800,000 bail for Azeez and RM500,000 for Latif, to be paid by today, and asked that their passports be surrendered to the court pending their trial.

The siblings’ lawyer, Hisyam Teh, told Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi that they agreed to the bail amount.

Azura allowed Azeez and Latif to post their bail with one surety each. She also ordered them to surrender their passports to the court pending the disposal of their cases.

Case mention will be held on March 27.

Sri Ram also told the court that the prosecution would be transferring the siblings’ case to the High Court, and that there was no objection from the defence lawyers.

Azeez, Latif and their cousin were arrested in September last year for investigation into corruption and money laundering offences.

The MACC raided Azeez’s houses and offices in the Klang Valley and Baling and seized RM500,000 for investigation purposes.

Azeez previously claimed that the money was part of his Umno allocation as well as from Kelab Putera 1Malaysia.