Foreign investigations into Musa over so why continue here, ask lawyers

Former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman leaves the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur after being slapped with another 16 charges.

KUALA LUMPUR: Musa Aman’s legal team today questioned the latest charges against him, saying foreign authorities have long since closed their money laundering investigations into the former Sabah chief minister.

Lawyer Ng Aik Guan told the Sessions Court here that Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) had informed Musa in December 2011 that “there are no further investigations” against him.

“The ICAC investigation review committee advised the commissioner that investigations into him were complete.

“We also find it strange that our diplomatic officers in Hong Kong and Singapore issued the certificate under Section 82 (2) of Amla for these 16 charges,” he said, referring to the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act.

Under the provision, a diplomatic officer can issue a certificate that money laundering charges be brought against individuals in court here for offences committed abroad.

Musa’s other lawyer, Amer Hamzah Arshad, added that former minister Nazri Aziz had answered in the Dewan Rakyat that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had not pressed charges against Musa as there were no elements of corruption.

“The former minister said in his parliamentary reply to then-Batu MP Tian Chua that the AGC had gone through the investigation papers and found no element of corrupt wrongdoings, and that the money was for the Sabah Umno liaison committee,” he said.

Ng said they would file an application to quash the charges of corruption and money laundering.

In response, deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran said the certificates issued by the diplomatic officers in Hong Kong and Singapore were unrelated to the investigation by foreign authorities.

“The certificates were issued as they are required under Amla, to give jurisdiction to our courts to hear cases in which the offence was committed overseas.

“The issue of whether the cases have been classified as ‘no further action’ by foreign authorities has no relevance to our case today,” she said.

Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayub allowed the prosecution and the lawyers a one-month period to file any applications they choose.

The next mention will be on April 15.

Musa  currently faces 51 charges of corruption and money laundering over timber concessions in Sabah.