KOTA KINABALU: The Sessions Court here has postponed the trial involving a former Sabah State Water Department director and two others accused of money-laundering.
Judge Abu Bakar Manat fixed 17 days for trial between Feb 5 and 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 Sabah Water director Ag Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, 55, his wife Fauziah Ag Piut, 52, and Sabah Finance Ministry's technical and engineering adviser Lim Lam Beng, 63, who claimed trial to laundering RM61.48mil and owning luxury goods from illegal activities.
They were charged under Section 4 (1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti Terrorism Financing (Amalatfa) Act 2001, which carries a maximum 15-year jail term and a fine not less than five times the amount or value of the proceeds from illegal activities or equipment, or RM5mil, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Counsel PJ Pereira, who represents Ag Mohd Tahir and Fauziah, requested at least six months postponement from Friday to allow Ag Mohd Tahir's accountant to prepare a report stating that RM30mil had belonged to 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