Musa Aman graft, money laundering trial to start in June 2020


KUALA LUMPUR: The trial of former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, involving 35 counts of bribery and 16 counts of money laundering, will commence in June next year.

High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah fixed the date for 22-day trial when the case was brought up for mention here on Thursday (May 23).

The trial dates are June 8 to 11, June 15 to 18, July 6 to 7, July 13 to 16 and July 20 to 23, 2020.

DPP Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said the prosecution would call about 30 witnesses to testify.

“We also requested both cases (money laundering and corruption) be jointly tried as it involved same transactions,” she said.

Lawyer Francis Ng, who represented Musa, did not object.

The court allowed the joint trial application.

The case is fixed for another mention on July 24.

Musa, 68, pleaded not guilty when the charges were re-read to him during the proceedings.

On Nov 5 last year, Musa was slapped with 35 counts of corruption involving US$63mil (around RM243mil) in Hong Kong and Singapore as an inducement for offering timber concessions in Sabah between Dec 20, 2004 and Nov 6, 2008.

The bribes were allegedly an inducement to give timber concessions contracts to 16 companies – Bountiful Returns Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Segar Tepat Sdn Bhd, JV Lestari Sdn Bhd, Tamabina Sdn Bhd, Sabapioneer Sdn Bhd, Danagaya Sdn Bhd, LR Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Lembah Mayang Sdn Bhd, Fast Progress Sdn Bhd, Maju Sinar Network Sdn Bhd, Eden Region Sdn Bhd, Gasing Selatan Sdn Bhd, Innokita Sdn Bhd, Tetap Simfoni Sdn Bhd, Asiatic Lumber Industries Sdn Bhd, and Eramewa Sdn Bhd.

The charges were framed under Section 11(a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 which carries a maximum imprisonment of 20 years and a fine not less than five times the amount of bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

In March, Musa was slapped with 16 additional charges of money laundering involving US$37.8mil and US$2.5mil allegedly committed more than 10 years ago.

According to the first charge, Musa ordered one Richard Christopher Barnes, 67, to open a bank account at UBS AG Bank in Singapore under the name Richard Christopher Barnes to receive the proceeds from illegal activities.

Musa also faces an alternative charge to the first charge, where he is said to have hidden his belongings which were proceeds from illegal activities at the same place and time.

For the second to the 15th charges, Musa allegedly received US$17,195,700 from one Chia Tien Foh; US$4,883,375 from Young Generation Corp; US$4,044,956.82 from one Lo Man Heng; US$1,413,681.74 from one Mazlan Zakaria; US$7.3mil and S$2.5mil from Axon Group Ltd; US$1,951,775.50 from Well Capital Finance Limited; US$650,000 from Innovative Information Ltd; and US$406,003.29 from Portland Trading Pte Ltd, through Barnes’ bank account.

For the 16th charge, Musa was accused of ordering Barnes to transfer all assets and future inflows – which were allegedly proceeds from illegal activities – from Barnes’ bank account into his own account at UBS AG Bank in Zurich, Switzerland.

The offences were allegedly committed at UBS AG Bank in Singapore and UBS AG Bank in Hong Kong between June 21, 2006, and May 14, 2008.

The charges were framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison as well as a fine of no less than five times the amount of illegal proceeds or RM5mil – whichever is higher – upon conviction.