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Musa charged with receiving RM263m in alleged bribes

Published
Modified 5 Nov 2018, 10:32 am

The MACC has laid 35 charges against former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman for receiving a total of US$63,293,924.88 million in bribes in exchange for logging contracts.

At today's exchange rate, the sum is equivalent to approximately RM263 million. The alleged offences took place in Hong Kong and Singapore, through proxies, between 2004 and 2008.

All charges were made under Section 11(a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, which pertains to offences in giving or accepting gratification by an agent.

In the 35 charges, the name Chia Tien Foh appears 16 times. Chia, better known as Michael Chia, is a known Musa associate.

If found guilty, Musa can be jailed between 14 days and 20 years, and fined up to five times the amount of the said gratification for each offence.

Musa, who leaned on his walking stick when in the dock, had the 35 charges against him read to him by two interpreters.

The charges relate to him receiving kickbacks from 16 timber concession companies as then-chairperson of Yayasan Sabah. He claimed trial to all 35 charges before Sessions judge Rozina Ayob.

Appointed prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram asked for RM5 million bail with two sureties, and that Musa surrender his passport, including his diplomatic passport.

However, Musa'a lawyers Amer Hamzah Arshad and Ridha Abdah Subri requested for a reduction in the bail amount, stating their client had voluntarily assisted in the MACC's investigations – including by returning from London where he was seeking medical treatment for a heart condition.

"He has corresponded with the MACC all this time, including when coming back to Malaysia.

"On Friday, he received notice to come to the MACC on Monday, and he thought he was required to give a statement, without knowing he would be arrested.

"He readily came and was arrested and brought to court. The bail should not be excessive, as my client had cooperated in the investigations," said Amer Hamzah.

The lawyer also added Musa had to be in Kota Kinabalu by Wednesday for a decision on his challenge to Mohd Shafie Apdal's appointment as the rightful chief minister of Sabah.

Ridha Abdah, meanwhile, pointed out that Musa is not a flight risk as he has a travel ban imposed on him. The ban was confirmed by investigating officer Zamri Zainal Abidin.

Rozina asked those in the public gallery who among them was residing in Peninsular Malaysia and was willing to post bail. Musa's niece, who is based in Shah Alam, agreed to do so.

With this, bail was set at RM2 million with two sureties, and for the former chief minister to surrender his two passports.

Rozina allowed the first payment of RM1 million to be made today, with the remaining amount to be paid on Wednesday.

"The court orders that the accused be here until Wednesday, until the bail is settled," the judge said.

Rozina fixed Dec 13 for case mention, and directed the MACC to provide the necessary documents to the defence by said date.


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