By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: The trial dates for Ag Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, the former Sabah State Water Department director and two others accused of money-laundering has been set between Feb 5 and March 22 next year.
This date was set by Judge Abu Bakar Manat after defence counsels for the three accused asked for postponements so that they could better prepare the defence of their clients.
In the dock are Ag Mohd Tahir, 55, his wife Fauziah Ag Piut, 52, and Sabah Finance Ministry’s technical and engineering adviser Lim Lam Beng, 63, who is also a former deputy director of the department.
All three claimed trial to laundering RM61.48mil and owning luxury goods from illegal activities.
PJ Pereira, counsel who represents Ag Mohd Tahir and Fauziah, requested at least a six month postponement from Friday, to allow his client’s accountant to prepare a report stating that RM30mil had belonged to him.
Baldev Singh, Lim’s counsel also required time to sort out matters on his client’s application to the Kota Kinabalu High Court to bring in a lead counsel from the peninsula for the trial.
Their requests were not met with any objection from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abdul Rahman, the MACC deputy public prosecutor said although the prosecution was ready to begin trial as soon as possible, they did not object to the postponement.
Sessions court Judge Abu Bakar Manat fixed 17 days for trial – Feb 5 to 9, and 20 to 23; as well as March 5 to 8, and 19 to 22. The trial was supposed to commence in July this year, but were delayed over legal technicalities.
On Feb 28, Abu Bakar had fixed 16 days of trial between July 4 and Aug 25 this year.
“Once the trial dates are fixed, the court will not entertain any postponement unless there is a near-death situation. Therefore, ample time is given for all matters (on the case) to be resolved,” he said.
There will also be a pre-trial case management on Nov 29 to finalise everything, said Abu Bakar, adding that the court does not have other free dates this year.
The three were charged under Section 4 (1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti Terrorism Financing (Amalatfa) Act 2001, which carries a maximum 15-year jail term and a fine not less than five times the amount or value of the proceeds from illegal activities or equipment, or RM5mil, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Tengku Amir Zaki also told the court that the prosecution would be calling 215 witnesses to testify.