Water Dept graft case deferred to next year

A camera-shy Ag Mohd Tahir at Kota Kinabalu High Court.

KOTA KINABALU: The trial of three persons who were charged with a total of 37 counts of money laundering was rescheduled to February 5-9, 20-23, March 5-8 and 19-22, next year.

Judge Abu Bakar Manat fixed the dates on Ag Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, 55, Fauziah Ag Piut, 52, and Lim Lam Beng @ Lim Chee Hong, 63, to give ample time for them to sort out their issues, including to prepare account reports of the transactions of RM30 million.

On December 29, 2016, Ag Mohd Tahir, who is the former director of Water Department, his wife Fauziah, and Lim, who is also Sabah Finance Ministry technical and engineering advisor, were charged under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (AMLATFAPUA) Act 2001.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges which involved cash and bank savings amounting to RM61.48 million, as well as unlawful possession of luxury goods.

Ag Mohd Tahir faces 11 charges framed under Section 4 (1)(b) of the AMLATFAPUA Act 2001, while Fauziah and Lim were each charged with 19 and four charges, respectively, of the same Act.

Ag Mohd Tahir is also charged under Section 4(1)(a) of the Act plus another two joint charges together with his wife under Section 4 (1)(b) of the same Act.

The alleged offences by Ag Mohd Tahir and his wife were committed at the former Water Department director’s office here, Townhouse Graceville in Sembulan, OCBC, UOB,  Bank Islam, CIMB, Bank Rakyat here, Puncak Luyang Condo here, Kingfisher Sulaman and PNB Tower in Kuala Lumpur between October 4 and November 4, 2016.

Lim was alleged to have committed the offence at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office at Jalan UMS and a house at Jalan Penempatan here between October 13 and November 8, 2016.

Earlier, counsel PJ Perira, who represented Ag Mohd Tahir and Fauziah, requested the court to give them time of at least six months for his clients to prepare the account report involving transactions of RM30 million.

He said they needed to have the report ready for the trial and prayed for the court to fix the trial in February or March next year.

Meanwhile, counsel Karpaljit Singh, who represented Lim, told the court that their ad hoc application to bring in lead counsel was still unresolved.

Regarding a  representation letter, Perira told the court that he would be writing a second representation letter to MACC as soon as possible while Karpaljit is still in the process, pending the ad hoc application.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Public Prosecutor from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Tg Amir Zaki Tg Abdul Rahman tendered to the court the final lists of 215 witnesses to be called by the prosecution together with documentary and physical exhibits.

All of the accused persons are currently released on bail.

Ag Mohd Tahir and his wife were released on bail of RM5 million and RM1 million with deposits of RM2 million and RM500,000 respectively, while Lim was released on  bail of RM1 million.

Tg Amir appeared together with DPP Mohd Farez Rahman while Perira was assisted by counsels Hairul Vaiyron and Ariel Daesan.

Karpaljit, together with counsel Baldev Singh, represented Lim.

Taking pictures of the accused persons were difficult as the relatives of the husband and wife shielded them from reporters while Lim managed to ‘escape’ with the help from his counsel.

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