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GEORGE TOWN – The corruption trial of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon set for March 27 has been postponed until their appeal to challenge the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act is settled.

High Court Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail allowed the application by counsel Gobind Singh Deo, who represented Lim, to stay the trial pending the outcome of their appeal in the Court of Appeal, and set April 25 for case management.

On March 7, the court rejected a petition by Lim and Phang to declare Section 62 of the MACC Act 2009 as unconstitutional and void.

Lim and Phang filed the application in January this year. Section 62 states that once the prosecution submits documents pursuant to Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused shall, before the trial begins, submit the following documents: (a) a statement of defence and (b) a copy of any document that can be
presented as part of the evidence for the defence.

On June 30 last year, Lim pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption in the conversion of land from agriculture to housing, and the purchase of a plot of land and bungalow at below market value.

For the first charge, Lim was accused as a civil servant, namely the Penang Chief Minister, of using his position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew Gek Cheng, by approving the conversion of agricultural land to residential in the southwest of Penang for a company, Magnificient Emblem Sdn Bhd.

Lim, 56, allegedly committed the offence while chairing a meeting of the Penang State Planning Committee in the Operations Room, 8th Floor, Komtar tower on July 18, 2014.

He was charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 which provides for a jail-term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of graft involved, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

On the second charge, Lim was accused as a civil servant of obtaining for himself a plot of land and a bungalow at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town, at a price which he knew did not commensurate with its value from Phang, at RM2.8 million, when its market value at the time was RM4.27 million.

He allegedly committed the offence at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town, on July 28, 2015 in accordance with Section 165 of the Penal Code which provides for a jail term of up to two years, or fine, or both upon conviction.

Phang, as the former owner of the bungalow, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring with Lim for him to obtain the bungalow at below market price at the same place and date.

The businesswoman was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code read together with Section 165, which provides for a jail term of up to two years, or fine, or both, if convicted.

Outside the court, Gobind told reporters he had filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal against the court’s decision to reject his client’s petition.

“Should the Court of Appeal allow the appeal, it will affect any defence during the trial. In this situation, it’s better to have the Court of Appeal hear and decide on the issue before this (corruption) case takes place,” he said.

Meanwhile, DPP Datuk Masri Mohd Daud said the prosecution agreed with the counsel’s application to suspend the corrption trial after considering all the factors.

He said they were also in the process of requesting the Court of Appeal to expedite the hearing. – BERNAMA

JOHOR BAHRU – The four men who were detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption
Commission (MACC) for investigation over a real estate corruption scandal in
Johor were released on the commission’s bail today.

The release order was issued by Johor Bahru Lower Court Assistant Registrar
Saba’aton Daud.

The four men — the son and a special aide of a Johor state government
official, a lawyer and a member of the public — were in remand since Feb 25.

They were among seven people who were detained for investigation in
connection with the case.

The other three, comprising two developers and a contractor, had been
released, also on MACC bail, on March 3 and 7, respectively.

All of them, aged between 25 and 50, were arrested at various locations here
in an MACC simultaneous operation on Feb 24.

The MACC also seized 21 luxury cars, five high-powered motorcycles,
RM500,000 worth of cash including foreign currency and several documents.

A total of 45 bank accounts of the suspects, involving a sum of at least
RM15.5 million, were frozen.
— BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has set three years from now to eliminate corruption in the civil service, especially among enforcement agencies.

Its Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations) Datuk Azam Baki said the three-year target was set in tandem with Malaysia becoming a developed country by 2020.

He said a total of 665 investigation papers had been opened since 2016 until February this year involving civil servants, where 548 of them were detained for investigations and 63 cases charged in the court.

“This shows how serious the (corruption) problem is among civil servants, and our worry is that the number will increase if it is not addressed from now,” he said at a event between the Rural and Regional Development Ministry and MACC at the ministry here today.

Also present was Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Speaking to reporters after the event, Azam said it was in meeting the three-year target that the commission was more aggressive in conducting its operations. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – A top officer of the Perak Immigration Department (PID) and three others were nabbed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday for allegedly soliciting bribes from operators of entertainment centres and massage parlours in the state.

The 57-year-old who is a senior official of the PID was held about 5am in Meru, Ipoh allegedly received thousands of ringgit from the operators as an inducement not to act on foreign women who did not possess travel documents or work permits but were employed as guest relations officers and masseurs at the centres.

The suspect had reported for duty in his new position at the PID about a month ago.

Earlier at about 12.30am, the MACC team nabbed two businessmen, both aged 30 and a mechanic aged 26 who are said to be linked to the case at a house in Ipoh.

Sources said the three suspects are allegedly the “go-betweens” who managed the handover of bribes to the main suspect and members of other enforcement agencies.

It is learnt that all four suspects were remanded for five days today.

Perak MACC director Datuk Nooraziah Abd Manaf when contacted confirmed the arrests but declined to elaborate.

IPOH – A senior officer of the Perak Immigration Department and three other individuals are in remand for five days for investigation into a corruption case.

The remand order was issued by Magistrate Siti Hanum Mohmad Shah following an application by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

According to a source, the Immigration officer, aged 57, and the three individuals, comprising two businessmen, both aged 30, and a mechanic, aged 23, were detained for investigation into alleged corruption involving operators of entertainment outlets and massage parlors in Perak.

Meanwhile, Perak MACC director Datuk Nooraziah Abd Manaf, when contacted, confirmed that the four individuals were arrested between midnight and 5 am today at various locations in the state. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Religious agencies are not above investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) if there are elements of corruption and offences.

Speaking to Bernama, MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said the position and power accorded were not for them to be involved in corruption.

“If there are parties who think they can escape from MACC investigations, the recent actions are proof that any agency can be investigated by MACC,” he said when commenting on the arrest of four Johor religious officers suspected of being involved in corruption and abuse of power in the state yesterday.

Azam added MACC took a serious view of the matter as the individuals were entrusted by the people and they should carry out their responsibilities with integrity.

He said this was not the first time religious department officers were detained by MACC. In fact, officers from religious departments in other states had also been nabbed and investigated previously.

“This is not only a problem of corruption and as religious practitioners, they should avoid getting involved in corruption.”

Yesterday, Johor MACC detained two officers from the Johor State Islamic Religious Department (JAINJ) and two Johor Bahru Religious Education (PPID) officers suspected of being involved in corruption and abuse of power for personal gain.

The principal assistant director and an assistant officer of JAINJ Syariah Law Division were held after initial investigations found they had approved permit to organise Muslim pre-marriage courses without going through procedures.

The two officers at PPID were detained for allegedly receiving bribes from a company to print books for Sekolah Agama Rakyat Johor. – BERNAMA

SEREMBAN – A former municipal council president in Negeri Sembilan and two
contractors are being remanded for seven days to facilitate investigations into
alleged corruption.

The remand application was made by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission
(MACC) today, and was allowed by assistant registrar of the Special Court
(Remand), Nor Anida Norhamdan.

The trio arrived at the court compound at 10am, clad in lock-up attire in an
MACC vehicle.

Yesterday, the MACC arrested a former municipal council president with the
‘Datuk’ title, for alleged corruption and abuse of power.

The 63-year-old public servant was arrested at his residence in Seremban, at
11.30am yesterday.
— BERNAMA

MALACCA – A 36-year-old single mother was sentenced to six months’ jail and fined RM100,000 by the sessions court here for accepting bribes while posing as a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer.

Nooraszlina Ismail, a food shop helper, pleaded guilty to soliciting a RM20,000 bribe from Mohd Rafi Md Hasin to help solve a corruption case involving state Land Public Transport Commission director Anuar Abdullah.

The offence was committed on Feb 3, 2016 at 8.15pm at her home in Batu 18 ½, Kampung Lendu Dalam, in Alor Gajah here.

The offence was prosecuted under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of at least the sum of gratification.

In mitigation, Nooraszlina said she is a single mother and had to take care of five children, aged between four and 11.

She also pleaded for the court to suspend the sentence, as she has to attend to urgent matters relating to her children.

MACC deputy public prosecutor Mohammed Heikal Ismail asked for the sentence to proceed, as it would be a deterrent against corruption and the impersonation of MACC officers.

Sessions judge Mohd Nasir Nordin said the crime is serious, but he also took into account the accused’s mitigation when passing sentence. He imposed a minimum fine of RM100,000, in default of six months’ jail, and a prison sentence of six months.

It was reported that Nooraszlina was detained on Feb 4, at 1.30pm, for claiming she was an MACC officer based at the Putrajaya headquarters.

She is said to have contacted several individuals, claiming that the MACC had opened investigation papers on them.

She also claimed that she could assist with the cases, and asked for between RM5,000 and RM20,000 on behalf of MACC’s higher-ranking officers to close the cases.

The victims eventually discovered that the woman was not an MACC officer, and that the files and investigation papers presented to them had been fabricated.

The Nooraszlina reportedly targetted officers holding important posts in government departments nationwide.

It was discovered that the accused has a criminal record, with offenses under Section 420 and 468 of the Penal Code for cheating and forging documents for cheating, and had been blacklisted by the police.

Nooraszlina was earlier remanded for six days starting Feb 4. – NST

PUTRAJAYA: Tan Sri Annuar Musa spent four hours at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as investigators questioned the suspended Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) chairman over allegations of abuse of power and misappropriation of funds.

Annuar, who is also Ketereh MP, was all smiles when he emerged from the MACC headquarters at 1pm where a media scrum had waited for him since 8am.

“I came here as I felt dutybound and I gave assistance, to the best of my abilities, to the MACC.

“Whatever they had to ask, I answered them. So it’s now up to them if they find a case or not,” said Annuar.

He said the questions revolved around Kelantan Football Association (Kafa) spending.

When asked if he could be called up again by the MACC, Annuar, who was former Kafa chairman, said it was possible and he was ready to cooperate.

“I am ready anytime, if they need to question me further,” he said.

The Umno information chief, however, said there was no rush to meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also the Umno president, over his party position.

“This has got nothing to do with the PM or the party. This is my case with the MACC, so let me manage this myself,” he said.

He also said the case would not affect his bid for the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) presidency, as it is still at the investigation stage.

“There are several criteria that disqualify you from contesting the FAM presidency, including bankruptcy. Being investigated by MACC, however, is not one of them,” he added.

Mara announced the immediate suspension of Annuar as chairman of Mara and its subsidiary Pelaburan Mara Bhd (PMB) on Tuesday.

The unanimous decision was made at a special meeting of the Mara Council.

Council member Datuk Dr Yusof Yakob, who chaired the meeting, said Annuar’s temporary removal would remain in effect pending the findings of an internal audit.

The MACC also announced that it would call Annuar to record his statement.

On Tuesday, Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he was informed that the Mara Council held a special meeting to pave the way for an internal audit into the Kafa sponsorship as well as other issues that have been going viral on social media.

 

PUTRAJAYA – Tan Sri Annuar Musa presented himself to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today to assist in investigations into the sponsorship of the Kelantan Football Association (Kafa) by two Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) subsidiaries.

Annuar arrived at the MACC headquarters at 9am to have his statement recorded. On Tuesday, Annuar was asked to take leave from his positions as Mara and Pelaburan Mara Bhd (PMB) chairman, which will be temporarily taken over by Mara board member Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob.

The decision was made following an emergency meeting held at the Mara headquarters by board members, who, according to Yusof, had unanimously made the decision.

It is believed the move against Annuar was made due to controversy over the sponsorship of the Kelantan football team by PMB and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL). – NST Online