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215 witnesses to testify over 17 days

12th August, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: A total of 215 witnesses will have their testimonies taken over 17 days next year in the trial of former Water Department director and his wife.

A former deputy director of the department will also join the couple to answer 37 charges of money laundering. The Sessions Court yesterday postponed the long-awaited trial to February and March.

Judge Abu Bakar Manat fixed the new trial dates of 17 days, from Feb 5-9, Feb 20 – 23, March 5-8, and March 19-22 to allow the accused parties to clear all unresolved issues.

He also fixed Nov 29 for final pre-trial case management and stressed that the court will not entertain any postponement unless there is a near-death situation, since ample time has been given for all matters to be resolved.

The court also ordered all the accused’s bail to be extended with the same condition. On Feb 28, Judge Abu Bakar had fixed 16 days from July 4 to Aug 25 this year for the trial.

In the dock are former director Awang Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, 54, his wife Fauziah Ag Piut, 51, and ex-deputy director Lim Lam Beng, 63.

They had on Dec 29, 2016 pleaded not guilty to all charges against them under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act (AMLA) 2001 which provides for a fine of up to RM5 million, or a jail term of up to 15 years, or both, on conviction.

Ag Mohd Tahir faces 12 charges of having cash and savings amounting to RM56.9 million as well as luxury vehicles and branded watches.

He allegedly committed the offences at different places at the department director’s office in Wisma Muis, Townhouse Graceville in Sembulan, OCBC Bank in Jalan Pantai, OUB Bank Bhd in Jalan Gaya, Taman Kingfisher Sulaman and Puncak Luyang Condominium in Jalan Kolam, Luyang on Oct 4, 2016.

Ag Mohd Tahir is also jointly charged with Fauziah with two counts of having 575 various types of jewellery and 346 items including designer handbags, keychains and branded wristwatches.

The offences allegedly took place at the Townhouse Graceville in Sembulan on Oct 4 this year. Fauziah, meanwhile, faces 19 counts of having cash and savings amounting to RM2.2 million in various banks and branded handbags, jewellery and other items.

All the charges against them stated that the cash, savings, luxury vehicles, branded watches, designer handbags, jewellery and other items were proceeds from unlawful activities.

Meanwhile, Lim was charged with four counts of having cash amounting to RM2.38 million and a Toyota Land Cruiser at a house in Jalan Penempatan, here between Oct 13 and Nov 8, 2016.

Earlier, counsel PJ Pereira, who is defending the couple, requested at least six months’ postponement as his clients needs to prepare the account reports of the transaction of RM30 million.

He also informed the court that previously his client were ordered to report at MACC office twice a month, thus he is requesting for his clients to report to MACC office only once a month.

Further, he said, they will send a second representation letter to the prosecution office soon as they were informed that their first representation letter was rejected.

Lim’s counsel Baldev Singh also required time to sort out matters on his client’s ad hoc admission application to the Kota Kinabalu High Court to bring in a lead counsel from peninsula for the trial.

He also informed the court that they are also in the process of submitting Lim’s representation letter. The delay is due to the unresolved ad hoc admission application matters.

MACC Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abdul Rahman told the court that the prosecution would be calling 215 witnesses to testify and tendered the lists of witnesses to the court.

He also informed the court that they had already tendered all relevant documents in connection with the case to the court during the last hearing. Therefore, he said, the prosecution is ready to proceed with the trial but they did not object to the postponement.

After the court proceedings, it was a tough task to take the trio’s photos as they deployed various tactics to shield themselves from photographers.

The husband and wife were shielded by their relatives while Lim managed to avoid the cameramen with the help from his counsel.

Counsels PJ Pereira, Hairul V. Othman and Ariel Dasan are defending Ag Mohd Tahir and his wife while counsel Baldev together with counsel Karpaljit Singh are representing Lim. DPP Farez Rahman is assisted by DPP Tengku Amir. – ECA

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