Sabah Watergate Scandal: April 3 Date For Joint Trial Of Four Accused

The Kota Kinabalu High Court dismissed Teo Chee Kong’s objection for a joint trial in the case of Sabah Water Department graft scandal here. – Photo courtesy of NST online

KOTA KINABALU: The High Court here on Tuesday fixed April 3 for the trial of a former Sabah Water Department (JANS) director and three others after dismissing one of the accused’s application to strike out the charges against him.

Justice Nurchaya Arshad made the decision in chambers after finding that there was no merit in former JANS deputy director Teo Chee Kong’s application, which included his objection for a joint trial and recusal of Sessions Court judge Abu Bakar Manat.

Dana Arabi Wazani, the deputy registrar was quoted by Bernama as saying that the criminal revision on joint trial and recusal of the Session Court judge, Justice Nurchaya decided that there is no likelihood of danger, in the sense of a real possibility of bias on the part of the learned Sessions Court judge.

FLASHBACK: Cash and jewelry seized.

Teo will be tried with former JANS director Awang Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, 54, his wife, Fauziah Piut, 51, and another former JANS deputy director Lim Lam Beng, 62, who pleaded not guilty to 37 counts of money laundering, involving RM61.57 million.

According to Bernama, Dana said Nurchaya also ordered the prosecution team from the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) led by Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abdul Rahman to produce footages of a closed-circuit camera recording, the lockup registration book and related documents during the remand process filed by Teo that had been dismissed by Abu Bakar.

Teo, 52, who was represented by lawyers Roland Cheng, Nelson Anggang and Ram Singh, is facing 146 counts of money laundering, involving more than RM32 million, allegedly committed through power abuse in the implementation of federal-funded projects by the Sabah Water Department between 2010 and 2016.

Seventy-eight of the charges were framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, for possession of 70 pieces of land obtained through unlawful activities in 78 transactions, involving RM12,705,203.

The remaining 68 charges were made under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, where six of them were for possession of cash of RM7,930,810 and the others, involving RM12,287,240, in bank accounts in eight financial institutions.