IPOH: Perak Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (MCCM) president Datuk Sabri Ahmad Tah has been charged with cheating after surrendering himself to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Putrajaya.
The 47-year-old director of Semarak Sinergi Sdn Bhd claimed trial in a Sessions Court here yesterday to deceiving fellow businessman Datuk Alan Chuah Chin Lai into handing over three cheques totalling RM150,000 to MCCM and his company as an inducement to secure a 108.45ha development project in Kampar, as well as a contract to supply sand for the construction of government building projects under Naza TTDI.
He was said to have committed the offence in front of the Teluk Intan Maybank branch in Jalan Ah Cheong between 10am and 2pm on July 25, 2014.
According to the charge sheet, the cheques were cashed out by one Baharudin Ahmad.
If convicted, Sabri could be jailed up to 10 years, whipped and fined under Section 420 of the Penal Code.
In asking the court to set bail at RM100,000 and to impound Sabri’s passport, MACC deputy public prosecutor Nurul Wahida Jalaluddin said the accused had a tendency to go missing.
“He was untraceable prior to giving himself up (on Monday).
“It took the MACC two months to track him down as he could not be found at the home of his closest relatives or at MCCM’s annual general meeting,” she said.
Defence counsel Ranjit Singh Sandhu argued that the accused had given his full cooperation to MACC back in 2015 and last year.
“But there was no notice for him to appear at any MACC office this year.
“It was not until he was endorsed as a candidate for national presidency in May that the MACC decided to arrest him,” the lawyer said, suggesting that the attempt to arrest Sabri was aimed at preventing him from contesting the top post.
Ranjit added that Sabri did not surrender immediately as one of his sons was undergoing treatment for a brain tumour at the time.
Sessions Court judge S. Indera Nehru set bail at RM50,000 with two of Sabri’s closest family members as bailors.
The court further instructed Sabri, who was also represented by Olinda Nicholas, to report at the nearest MACC office once a month pending disposal of the case.
The case has been fixed for mention on Aug 8.