ALOR SETAR: A former Kedah Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI Kedah) CEO pleaded not guilty in the sessions court here, to charges of soliciting and accepting bribes in connection with a rare earths mining project (REE) in the state.
Sobri Osman, 63, made the plea after the charges were read out to him before judge Rohatul Akmal Abdullah.
On the first count, he was charged with soliciting gratification of RM4 million from one John Abad Pe of REE Mining Group as an incentive for him to help the company carry out REE mining as a joint venture through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with MBI Kedah.
The offence was allegedly committed at a hotel in Hatyai, Thailand, on May 20 this year.
For this charge, the prosecution requested to apply the provision under Section 66 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 which provides that any citizen and permanent resident of Malaysia who commits an offence abroad can be prosecuted in the country.
Sobri was also charged with accepting gratification of RM1 million in cash from John, through Liyana Mamat@Khalid, as an inducement to help the same company carry out REE mining as a joint venture through an MoU with MBI Kedah.
The offence was allegedly committed in the parking lot of Wisma Darul Aman, Jalan Tunku Bendahara, here on May 29, 2023.
Both charges are framed under Section 16(a)(A) of the MACC Act 2009 (Act 694) which provides imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification which is the subject matter of the offence, where such gratification is capable of being valued or is of a pecuniary nature, or RM10,000, whichever is the higher, upon conviction
The court allowed Sobri bail of RM100,000 with one surety for both charges and also ordered him to surrender his passport, report himself to the nearest MACC office on the first week of every month and not intimidate witnesses in the case.
The court also set Jan 22 next year for mention for the submission of documents.
The prosecution was conducted by MACC deputy public prosecutors Farah Yasmin Salleh, Natrah Fareha Rahmat and Asnaf Tahir, while the accused was represented by lawyers Ibrahim Ismail and Zamri Ibrahim.