Kedah MB's former aide charged with graft over REE mining project

KUALA LUMPUR: A former political secretary to the Kedah Mentri Besar has been charged with soliciting and accepting bribes in connection with a rare earth element (REE) mining project in the state.

Mohamad Hilmi Abdul Wahab, 50, pleaded not guilty to both charges which were read out before Sessions judge Suzana Hussin on Monday (Nov 20).

On the first charge, Mohamad Hilmi was alleged to have solicited a cash bribe amounting to RM250,000 from REE Mining Group director Liana Mamat @ Khalid, 40, through one Syed Muhammad Syed Aluvi, 34.

It was allegedly an inducement for Mohamad Hilmi, then the political secretary to Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, to help the company get its REE mining and exploration licence application approved.

The offence was allegedly committed at a premises in Sunway Kiara Hills, Taman Sri Hartamas here, on July 4.

He was also charged with receiving RM150,000 from Liana for the same purpose at a restaurant in Sri Hartamas Village here on July 11.

The charge, framed under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, provides imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value of the bribe or RM10, 000, whichever is higher, if convicted.

Judge Suzana, in allowing Mohamad Hilmi bail of RM45,000 with one surety for both charges, also ordered him to surrender his passport to the court and report to the Kedah MACC office once a month pending disposal of his case.

She also advised him against intimidating witnesses in the case and set Jan 12 for mention.

DPP Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin prosecuted, while lawyer Syed Naqiuddin Shahab represented Mohamad Hilmi. – Bernama

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