3 witnesses called as corruption trial of ex-Tabung Haji chairman begins

Azeez Abdul Rahim arriving at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

KUALA LUMPUR: Three witnesses were called today on the first hearing of the corruption trial involving former Tabung Haji chairman Azeez Abdul Rahim and his brother, Latif Abdul Rahim.

The trial before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi called in Adawiah Sahmad @ Abdul Samad, Muhamad Akamaludin Abdullah and Yap Boon Seong.

Azeez was charged in January last year with three counts of bribery involving RM5.2 million linked to road projects in Perak and Kedah, and nine counts of money laundering involving nearly RM140 million. His brother was charged with abetting him.

The corruption charges were made under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 while the money laundering charges were made under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

Azeez is accused of receiving RM5.2 million from Mohammad Redzuan Mohanan Abdullah, director of Syarikat Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd, in the Klang Valley between December 2010 and April 2018.

Latif is accused of abetting him on two counts in obtaining a RM4 million bribe, part of the RM5.2 million allegedly received by the Baling MP.

Azeez, Latif and a cousin were arrested in September 2018 to help in investigations into corruption and money laundering offences.

Akmaludin, from the Companies Commission of Malaysia, submitted company registration documents of four companies: Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd, Azman Azeez Properties (M) Sdn Bhd, Azeera Management Consultants (M) Sdn Bhd and Azeera Properties (M) Sdn Bhd.

A few of the companies listed Azeez’s children on their board of directors. They were Mohd Khairul Anwar, Mohd Khairul Azman, Khaleeda Azwa and Khaleeda Azeera.

Akmaludin also revealed that Azeez and his wife held millions of shares in the firms.

Meanwhile, Adawiah, head of the legal department at the Malaysian Islamic Economic Development Foundation (Yapeim), said Azeera Management Consultants had applied to become a consulting secretariat for Yapeim in November 2003.

Yapeim agreed, and the company was registered at one of Yapeim’s offices at Jalan Kampung Attap in Kuala Lumpur.

She also testified that in 2006, Azeera Management Consultants bought over the office from the government agency for RM1.35 million.

Yap, like Akmaludin and Adawiah, also submitted documents to the court in relation to the trial.

Yap also revealed that Azeez had made a purchase for a RM405,000 Toyota Vellfire.

He testified that the vehicle and a related bank loan were registered under Azeez’s name, but he mostly dealt with one Mohammad Redzuan.

He said Mohammad Redzuan paid a down payment of RM10,000 and a sum of RM112,929.60 for the vehicle using Maybank and Affin Bank cheques, adding the Affin Bank cheque was issued by Menuju Asas.

The next hearing will be on Sept 7.