KOTA KINABALU – The Sessions Court here today postponed the trial involving a former Sabah State Water Department director (JANS) and two others, who are accused of money-laundering, to next year.
Judge Abu Bakar Manat fixed 17 days of trial between Feb 5 to March 22 next year to allow the defence to clear all housekeeping matters in preparation for the trial following their request for postponement.
“Once the trial dates are fixed, the court will not entertain any postponement unless there is a near death situation. Therefore, ample time is given for all matters (on the case) to be resolved,” he said.
On Feb 28, Abu Bakar had fixed 16 days of trial between July 4 and Aug 25 this year.
In the dock are former JANS director Ag Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, 55, his wife Fauziah Ag Piut, 52, and Sabah Ministry of Finance’s technical and engineering adviser Lim Lam Beng, 63, who claimed trial for laundering RM61.48 million and owning luxury goods from illegal activities.
They were charged under Section 4 (1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti Terrorism Financing (AMLATFA) Act 2001, which carries a maximum 15-year imprisonment and a fine not less than five times the amount or value of the proceeds from illegal activities or equipment, or RM5 million, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Counsel PJ Pereira, who represents Ag Mohd Tahir and Fauziah, requested at least six months postponement from today to allow Ag Mohd Tahir’s accountant to prepare a report stating that RM30 million had belonged to him (Ag Mohd Tahir).
Lim’s counsel Baldev Singh also required time to sort out matters on his client’s application to the Kota Kinabalu High Court to bring in a lead counsel from the peninsula for the trial.
Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission deputy public prosecutor Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abdul Rahman said although the prosecution was ready to begin trial as soon as possible, they did not object to the postponement.
Tengku Amir Zaki told the court that the prosecution would be calling 215 witnesses to testify. – BERNAMA