Seven-Day Remand For Lawyer Over Risda Land Probe

KOTA KINABALU: Graftbusters have arrested a lawyer in connection with their probe into a 2014 Risda land deal over which a businessman, now a state minister, was also investigated at one time.

Magistrate Lovely Natasha Charles today placed the lawyer, Michael Persius Ubu, on a seven-day remand to facilitate further investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission which had detained him yesterday.

The application for remand was made by MACC prosecuting officer Mohd. Faliq Basiruddin. Ubu was represented by lawyer Zahir Shah.

Ubu who was clad in a MACC orange lock-up garb arrived in court at 9.40am.

He has been sought since 2017 by MACC in their investigations into the RM150mil Risda land deal in Sabah’s central Tongod district that failed to materialise due to issues concerning native land conversion.

Businessman turned politician Datuk Peter Anthony who is now State Infrastructure Development Minister was arrested in 2017 in connection with the Risda land deal.

He was subsequently released.

On Thursday, Peter was charged with five money laundering charges involving a sum of RM8.75mil at the Sessions Court here. His is out on bail after claiming trial.

It is understood that Ubu returned to Sabah earlier this month and turned up at the MACC office around 1.30pm on Friday before being formally arrested at 4.15pm.

“We need time to carry out our investigations and after this we will submit our investigations to the public prosecutor’s office. If there is an order, they will prosecute,” a MACC official said.

On Friday, family members of Ubu through a lawyer had told the media Ubu’s legal firm had paid back RM18mil over the land deal that did not go through.

They claimed that the settlement had been agreed to by Risda which did face any losses with the interest paid.

The case involves the sale of two plots of land in Tongod to Risda in 2014.

The deal fell through although a RM15mil downpayment was paid by Risda, through Ubu’s legal firm.