KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun is now a free man after the Sessions Court here acquitted him of three money-laundering charges involving RM15mil that he received from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Sessions Court judge Suzana Hussin made the order of discharge and acquittal (DNA) after the court was informed of the prosecution’s intention to withdraw the charges against Mohd Hafarizam, who is an Umno legal adviser.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Ishak Mohd Yusoff said the prosecution is withdrawing the charges as Mohd Hafarizam had paid a compound.
“All of the charges against the accused are withdrawn because he has agreed to pay a compound in the case,” Ishak told the court during the case mention on Friday.
The court also ordered for the RM200,000 bail money to be returned to Mohd Hafarizam.
When met outside of the court, Mohd Hafarizam’s lawyer Datuk Hasnal Rezua Merican said the RM590,587.26 compound was paid on Thursday (July 29).
He said during proceedings, the defence had asked the court to make the DNA order which was granted by the court, and added that this effectively meant no new charges could be brought against Mohd Hafarizam.
Speaking to the press, Mohd Hafarizam said the charges had been hanging over his head since 2019 in what he claimed was selective prosecution by the former Attorney General.
“I would like to state that every sen that I received from my client was put into the client’s account at my former law firm and would be taken out to (pay) third parties on instructions by my client in my capacity as a trustee,” said Hafarizam
“Such transactions are normal for solicitors, it is legitimate and not unlawful,” he added.
Mohd Hafarizam said his profession, reputation and family had suffered throughout the case and he thanked Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun for withdrawing the charges.
The 49-year-old was charged with three counts of receiving RM7.5mil, RM4mil and RM3.5mil through three cheques, which belonged to Najib, and the monies were deposited into the account of his former legal firm, Messrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak (HWAM).
The offences were allegedly committed between April 17, 2014 and Jan 21, 2015.
The charges were framed under Section 4(1)(a) and Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which provides an imprisonment for a term not exceeding fifteen years and shall also be liable to a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the proceeds of an unlawful activity or instrumentalities of an offence at the time the offence was committed or RM5mil, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
The trial was initially scheduled to begin on Aug 12. A total of 20 witnesses were listed in the prosecution's witness list.