KUALA LUMPUR: Former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman is seeking to quash his 46 corruption and money laundering charges in relation to timber concessions in the state.
Deputy public prosecutor Umar Saifuddin Jaafar informed High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin today the prosecution recently received Musa’s application and needed time to respond.
He said Musa had applied to set aside all the charges as he claimed they were “groundless”.
Lawyer Ng Aik Guan confirmed that the defence had filed the application on Feb 12.
Umar said the defence had filed another application on the same day to refer constitutional issues to the Federal Court on a provision under the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act, or Amla.
He told reporters later the defence was seeking to challenge Section 82(2) of Amla which empowers a diplomatic officer to issue a certificate that money laundering charges be brought against individuals in court in Malaysia for offences committed abroad.
“They said the officer’s action in issuing the certificate was seen as interfering with the attorney-general’s decision to prosecute. We maintained the section is valid,” Umar said.
Jamil set April 22 to 23 to hear both applications. The court also set Sept 14 to 18, Sept 21 to 24, Oct 26 to 30 as well as Nov 10 to 27 as the trial dates.
Umar told the court the prosecution would be calling 50 to 60 witnesses to testify, and some of them would be from Sabah.
Musa, the chief minister of the state from 2003 to 2018, claimed trial to 35 corruption charges on Nov 5, 2018. However, five of charges were later dropped.
If found guilty under Section 11(a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, he could face a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of RM10,000, or up to five times the alleged bribes received, whichever amount is higher.
Musa also faces 16 money laundering charges, involving US$37 million, from various individuals and companies during the period.
If convicted under Amla, he faces a jail term of five to 15 years.