Umno lawyer given discharge not amounting to acquittal on money-laundering charges (updated)

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): UMNO legal adviser Mohd Hafarizam Harun has been given a discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) by the Kuala Lumpur High Court Monday (Aug 3) on two counts of money laundering involving RM15mil.

Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali made the decision on Monday (Aug 3) after deputy public prosecutor Datuk Ishak Mohd Yusoff informed the court that the prosecution was seeking the DNAA and would file fresh new charges against Hafarizam in the Sessions Court.

"After hearing the oral application by the prosecution to withdraw the charges against the accused in this case, this court orders the accused to be discharged not amounting to an acquittal in respect of the two charges currently before this court.

"This is to enable the prosecution to file fresh new charges against the accused in the Sessions Court as mentioned by the prosecution. The application for my recusal is therefore recorded as being withdrawn by the defence, ” the judge said.

Earlier, Ishak informed the court that the first charge was defective because it involved two transactions in April and November 2014.

"We have to split up the two transactions into new charges. So, we are seeking for the accused to be DNAA for both charges and he will be charged immediately at the lower court today with different charges, ” he added.

Hafarizam’s counsel, Datuk Hasnal Rezua Merican said in light of the new development by the prosecution, the defence would withdraw their application for the recusal of the judge that was made earlier, as it had become academic.

Monday was supposed to be the first day hearing of the case before Justice Nazlan.

On Feb 21 last year, Hafarizam, 48, pleaded not guilty to two counts of money laundering, involving RM15mil, which he allegedly received from former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and deposited into the account of his legal firm.

On the first count, he was alleged to have been directly involved in two transactions involving proceeds from unlawful activities, totalling RM11.5mil in two AmIslamic Bank Bhd cheques belonging to Najib, which were deposited into the account of Messrs. Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak (HWAM) at CIMB Bank Bhd.

The offence was allegedly committed at the PWTC branch of CIMB Bank at Suite 1, Level 5, Menara Dato’ Onn, Jalan Tun Ismail, here between April 16 and Nov 4,2014.

Hafarizam was also charged with committing a similar offence, involving RM3.5mil through an AmIslamic Bank Bhd cheque belonging to Najib, which was deposited into the account of the same legal firm at CIMB Bank Bhd at the same place on Feb 12,2015.

Both charges were framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which provides imprisonment for up to 15 years and fine of not less than five times the amount of the proceeds from unlawful activities or RM5mil, whichever is higher, if found guilty. - Bernama

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