KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan pleaded not guilty in the High Court here Tuesday (Aug 24) to charges of money laundering for failing to declare RM2mil received from Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) and giving a false statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
"I understand and I plead not guilty,” he said when asked by the court interpreter before Judge Datuk Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh.
Ahmad, 55, had pleaded not guilty to the charges for the first time last July 13 after the court allowed his application to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.
In allowing Ahmad to apply the RM500,000 bail imposed by the Sessions Court when he was charged for the first time on Jan 21 last year, the High Court set Sept 29 for case management.
At Tuesday's proceeding, the prosecution, conducted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Mukhzany Fariz Mohd Mokhtar, informed the court that they would be calling 10 witnesses to testify.
Hearing of the case had been set for 23 days next year, from June 7 to 9 and 13 to 15; July 18 to 21 and 25 to 28 and Aug 15 to 19 and 22 to 25. The dates had been agreed to by Ahmad’s lawyer, Hamidi Mohd Noh.
On the charge of money laundering, Ahmad was alleged to have violated Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 by not stating his real income on the RM2mil he received from the former prime minister in the Income Tax Return Form for Assessment Year 2013.
The former deputy finance minister was alleged to have received the money, believed to be proceeds from unlawful activities, via a check from AmIslamic Bank Bhd dated Nov 27, 2013, which he personally cashed on the same day.
The offence was allegedly committed at the LHDN, Duta Branch, Government Office Complex, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, on April 30, 2014.
The charge, framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, provides a maximum fine of RM5mil, or imprisonment for up to five years, or both, if found guilty.
The other charge was for giving false statements to the MACC when questioned by investigating officer Mohd Zairi Zainal over the issue at the media conference room at Parliament building between 2.45pm and 3.30pm on July 4, 2019.
The charge, framed under Section 32(8)c) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, provides a maximum fine of RM3mil, or imprisonment for up to five years, or both if found guilty. - Bernama