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Money laundering: Trial of water Dept 4 adjourned
Published on: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The trial of the money laundering case involving Sabah Water Department's former Director Awang Mohd Tahir Awang Mohd Talib, his wife Fauziah Piut, former deputy director of the department Lim Lam Beng and Sabah Water Department deputy director Teo Chee Kong, has been adjourned.

Sessions Court Judge Abu Bakar Manat allowed the adjournment of the trial on Monday, which was scheduled to resume for four days, after being informed by the prosecution that Teo's application for a stay of the trial had been granted by the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya on May 18.

Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Deputy Public Prosecutor Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abdul Rahman said the stay order of the trial only involves Teo until the disposal of three appeals filed by him.

Tengku Amir applied for the trial, which was fixed for this week, and the next trial date for all accused, to be stayed until the appeal by Teo be heard and decided by the Court of Appeal.

The application was to facilitate the trial process against all accused, he said.

Abu Bakar in his ruling, held that although the stay order by the Court of Appeal only involved Teo, the joint trial order was still a valid order, as well as the application for recusal order for him not to hear the present case, was also a relevant issue to all the accused.

He allowed the trial to be adjourned until a final decision by the Court of Appeal on all the issues raised by Teo.

The trial fixed on June 4-7 has also been vacated.

The court maintained the trial date fixed on July 30-31, Aug 1-2, Sept 3-6, Sept 18-20 and Oct 1-4 and also set trial dates Oct 22-25, Nov 12-15, Nov 26-29, Dec 3-6 and Dec 10-13.

No objection was raised from the counsel for Ag Mohd Tahir, Fauziah and Lim for the trial to be adjourned.

Meanwhile, Teo's counsel Roland Cheng confirmed to the court on the decision of the Court of Appeal on May 18 for the stay order for Teo only.

Cheng pointed out that the appeals do not concern the other three accused.

The appeal is against the two forfeiture orders in the High Court as regards the land and bank accounts of Teo only; against the refusal of the High Court to revise the Sessions Court's order against the recusal of Judge Abu Bakar for the trial; against the refusal of the High Court to revise the Sessions Court's order for a joint trial of all four accused; and against the refusal of the High Court to set aside all 146 charges against Teo on grounds of mala fide.

"So, all the appeals only concern Teo and do not in any manner affect the other three accused.

Therefore, we are of the view that it is not necessary for the trial involving the other accused to be stayed since there is no application to stay the trial," said Cheng.

However, counsel Marcel Jude representing Ag Mohd Tahir and Fauziah, disagreed with Cheng saying that they found no basis for his contentions that the appeal has no bearing on the present trial.

"This being a joint trial for all accused. The appeal against recusal would have a material effect on the outcome of this trial," he said, among others.

The prosecution had so far called five witnesses in the trial.

Ag Mohd Tahir, 54, and Fauziah, 51, along with Lim, 62, had pleaded not guilty to 37 counts of money laundering, involving RM61.57million.

They were jointly tried with Teo Chee Kong, 52, who faces 146 counts of money laundering, involving more than RM32million.

Marcel represented Ag Mohd Tahir and Fauziah together with counsel Nurul Rafeeqa Afdul Mutolip.

Lim was defended by counsel Datuk Tan Hock Chuan, Baldev Singh, Zahir Shah and Karpaljit Singh while Teo was represented by counsel Roland Cheng, Ram Singh and Nelson Angang. - Jo Ann Mool

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