With the Barisan Nasional coalition back in the ruling government, concerns are running high that several UMNO leaders who are undergoing graft trials would be set free
However, UMNO secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa downplayed the fear by reassuring the public that the new Muafakat Nasional coalition government will not drop high-profile cases involving UMNO leaders.
"If we interfere by withdrawing cases of those charged, the people would say the government does not respect the law and the judicial body is not independent," Annuar told Bernama yesterday.
Having said that, Annuar said this does not apply to politically motivated cases where leaders are charged in court without solid evidence
He added that it is up to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to appoint them to hold any Cabinet positions.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang echoed the same, reported Malaysiakini.
"If you want to accuse leaders of being linked to corruption, PH also has leaders whose cases have been stopped from going to court," Hadi said yesterday.
Hadi is believed to be referring the acquittals of two DAP assemblypersons who were charged for alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a now-defunct terrorist group in Sri Lanka, and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng who was charged for an alleged purchase of a property at a below-market price in 2014.
The current ruling government is made out of Bersatu, PKR defectors, BN, PAS, and GPS after a week-long political stalemate.
As we move into a new political climate, here is a recap of 10 UMNO leaders who are currently ongoing corruption trials in Malaysian courts:
1. Zahid Hamidi
UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is currently facing a total of 87 charges in two separate trials, reported Malay Mail.
12 charges for criminal breach of trust
- Zahid allegedly used stolen funds to pay for his personal credit cards and insurance policy, among other things.
- The offence was allegedly committed between 2014 and 2016.
27 charges for money laundering
- Zahid allegedly engaged in direct transactions involving income from illegal activities between 2016 and 2018.
Eight charges for bribery
- Zahid allegedly accepted bribes amounting to RM21.25 million from three companies, namely Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, Data Sonic Group Bhd, and Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd.
- The bribes were intended to induce Zahid, who served as the then-Home Minister, to help the companies obtain MyEG projects, supply passport chips, and to be appointed the operator of migrant visa one-stop centres in Pakistan and Nepal respectively.
40 charges for another bribery case
- Separately, he is also facing 40 charges of having to receive bribes from a company that managed the overseas visa system.
- The trial for that is slated to begin in October.
Today, 2 March, was meant to be Zahid's 19th day of the trial involving the first 47 charges, but the High Court has allowed the trial to be postponed to tomorrow, 3 March, after Zahid’s lawyers told the judge that their client needed to attend a meeting with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin to discuss the formation of a new Cabinet.
The postponement has raised concerns that Zahid's ongoing corruption trial would be dropped.
However, the Bagan Datuk MP dismissed the speculation, vowing that he will clear his name in court, reported New Straits Times.
2. Musa Aman
According to New Straits Times, former Sabah Chief Minister (CM) Tan Sri Musa Aman is currently facing 46 corruption and money laundering charges against him in connection with timber concession contracts in the state.
30 charges for corruption
- Musa allegedly received USD50.1 million (RM210 million) from eight logging concessionaires as an inducement to approve logging concessions to 16 companies.
16 charges for money laundering
- Musa allegedly instructed an individual to open a bank account in Singapore to channel proceeds from illegal activities.
- He allegedly received USD37 million (RM155 million) and SGD2.5 million (RM7.5 million) through the individual's bank account.
- The offences were allegedly committed between 2004 and 2008 while he was serving as Sabah Foundation Board of Trustees chairman and the state's CM.
Musa is currently serving as the Sungai Sibuga assemblyman.
In the latest development, New Straits Times reported that Musa filed an application to the court on 12 February to quash all charges pressed against him.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Umar Saifuddin Jaafar said Musa's application was made on the grounds that the charges were "baseless".
The court has set 23 and 24 April to hear Musa's application.
3. Bung Moktar Radin
Sabah UMNO chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin is currently on trial for accepting million of Ringgit in bribes, reported The Edge Markets.
Three charges for bribery
- Bung Moktar allegedly accepted bribes totalling up to RM2.8 million in June 2015.
- The Kinabatangan MP, in his capacity of a non-executive chairman of FELCRA Berhad, allegedly accepted the bribes to obtain approval for the company to make a RM150 million investment in unit trust products.
According to The Star, the unit trust investment accounts were registered under his wife's name, Datin Seri Zizie Ezette A Samad.
As such, Zizie was also charged for abetting her husband in the offences.
4. Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim
Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim is being charged for accepting bribes and money laundering, reported New Straits Times.
Three charges for bribery
- Abdul Azeez allegedly received RM5.2 million worth of bribes.
- He allegedly committed the offences on three occasions - in October 2010, June 2017, and April 2018.
- The bribes were allegedly received by him and his brother, Datuk Abdul Latiff, to help Syarikat Menuju Asas secure a road project through limited tender from the Ministry of Works.
- The RM644 million project was an upgrade work on Pantai Baru Coastal Expressway.
Nine charges for money laundering
- Abdul Azeez allegedly received proceeds from unlawful activities amounting to nearly RM140 million, reported The Star.
- He allegedly committed the offences in March 2010 and August 2019.
The trial will commence on 16 March.
5. Mohd Isa Abdul Samad
Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad is currently facing 10 charges for the alleged crimes he committed when he was serving as chairman of FELDA Investment Corporation (FICSB)'s board of directors in 2014, according to The Star.
Nine charges for bribes
- Isa allegedly received RM3 million in bribes from Gegasan Abadi Properties director Ikhwan Zaidel.
- The bribes were meant to induce Isa into assisting the company in selling Kuching's Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites to FICSB at an inflated price of RM160 million.
- All the offences were allegedly committed between July 2014 and December 2015.
One charge for criminal breach of trust
- Isa allegedly approved the purchase of Kuching's Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites without the approval from the FELDA board of directors.
- The alleged crime took place in April 2014.
6. Tengku Adnan
Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who is the former UMNO secretary-general, is currently facing a charge of receiving RM2 million in bribes, reported New Straits Times.
One charge for bribery
- Tengku Adnan allegedly received RM2 million from businessman Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong in a form of a cheque belonging to property developer Aset Kayamas.
- It was deposited into a bank account belonging to Tadmansori Holdings, a company owned by Tengku Adnan's family.
- The offence was allegedly committed in June 2016.
Tengku Adnan, or more popularly known as Ku Nan, told the High Court that the money was a political donation for UMNO, but judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan was not convinced.
Thus, he was ordered to enter defence on 14 October last year.
7. Ahmad Maslan
UMNO supreme council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan is currently facing two money laundering charges in connection with funds he allegedly received from former prime minister Najib Razak, reported Malay Mail.
Two charges for money laundering
- In the first charge, Ahmad allegedly received a cheque of RM2 million from Najib in November 2013.
- He failed to declare the amount to the Inland Revenue Board.
- In the second charge, Ahmad allegedly tempered his documents before submitting them to a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officer.
- The forged documents stated that he did not receive RM2 million from Najib.
According to Free Malaysia Today, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) demanded Ahmad return the money as it is believed that the RM2 million came from 1MDB.
In the latest development on 21 February, the Pontian MP said he has filed an application to the court in an attempt to quash the charges.
The application was filed on 11 February under Section 173(g) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which reads that if the prosecution fails to present a prima facie case, the court shall discharge the accused.
8. Shahrir Abdul Samad
Former FELDA chairperson Shahrir Abdul Samad pleaded not guilty to receiving a bribe from Najib, reported The Star.
One charge for money laundering
- Shahrir allegedly received RM1 million from Najib in November 2013.
- He is also charged for allegedly failing to declare the money he received with the Inland Revenue Board.
The MACC has also issued a compound to Shahrir, who is UMNO's Johor Bahru division chief, demanding him to return the money as it is believed to be part of the RM420 million stolen from 1MDB.
9. Najib Razak
Former prime minister Najib Razak is currently facing 42 charges of corruption and abuse of power over transactions involving billions of dollars linked to 1MDB and SRC International.
SRC International case
- Najib is facing seven charges of abuse of power, corruption, and money laundering involving RM42 million from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.
- In November last year, Najib was ordered to enter defence after a seven-month-long trial.
- Najib is facing 21 money laundering charges.
- He is also charged for abuse of power involving a sum of more than RM2.3 billion of purported 1MDB funds, reported The Star.
- All the offences were allegedly committed between February 2011 and August 2013.
Despite the resignation of Attorney General Tommy Thomas last Friday, 28 February, Najib has affirmed that he would not want the charges against him to be dropped, reported Free Malaysia Today.
Instead, he wants to use the court to clear his name.
10. Rosmah Mansor
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former premier Najib Razak, is currently facing three counts of corruption in connection with the supply and installation of solar energy at Sarawak rural schools, reported Bernama.
Three charges for corruption
- On the first count, she allegedly received RM187 million from Jepak Holdings managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin.
- The bribe was allegedly an inducement to secure solar power projects at 369 rural schools in 2016.
- The project was worth RM1.25 billion and it was negotiated directly with the Ministry of Education.
- On the second count, she allegedly received RM1.5 million from Saidi for the same purpose.
- The offence was committed in September 2017.
- In April 2019, the offence repeated again and Rosmah allegedly received another RM5 million from Saidi.
According to The Star, a government officer in the Prime Minister's Office, Huzairi Zainal Abidin, said during the trial earlier this month that although Rosmah did not hold any official position, she had her own division called the First Lady of Malaysia (FLOM) division.
The division was allegedly set up to coordinate the programmes of the prime minister that involved her.
After a week of political imbroglio, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has come out on top and was sworn in as the eighth Prime Minister yesterday, 1 March: