Mat Sabu’s ex-aide slapped with 5 corruption charges

(FMT) – The former political secretary to Amanah president Mohamad Sabu pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here today to five counts of corruption involving RM6.35 million linked to a defence ministry project.

Mohd Azhar Che Mat Dali was charged under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act with soliciting RM5 million and receiving RM1.35 million in kickbacks from a director of FEHM Entity Sdn Bhd, Elias Jemadi Tajudin.

The alleged kickbacks were meant for Azhar, then political secretary to Mohamad, the defence minister at the time, to assist FEHM Entity to become the strategic partner and contractor for the ministry’s project in maintaining intelligence devices.

Azhar was said to have received the money through two individuals – Ahmad Hisham Mohd Tajuddin and Zainuddin Abdul Majid.

The alleged offence took place between July 22, 2019 and February this year in various locations in the city centre and Putrajaya.

If convicted, Azhar faces a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine not more than five times that of the alleged kickbacks.

Judge Azura Alwi allowed Azhar bail of RM300,000 in two sureties and set Nov 26 as the next mention date.

The court also allowed him to settle half of the bail amount today and the remaining sum by next Thursday, after Azhar’s lawyer, Ariff Azami Hussein, made the request.

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Mahadi Abdul Jumaat told the court the prosecution was seeking bail of RM500,000 to be imposed on Azhar on grounds that this is a serious offence.

“We also urged the court to impose additional conditions for bail, such as for the accused to report to the MACC headquarters on the first week of every month, to surrender his passport and not to disturb potential witnesses,” he said.

He said Azhar would face more charges next week in the Shah Alam Sessions Court.

Ariff, in pleading for a lower bail, said the amount sought by the prosecution was excessive and there was no possibility for Azhar to abscond as the country’s borders were closed.

“I hope the court can consider the fact that he has not been working since February and he needs to support his wife, seven children and mother-in-law.

“The bail amount should not be punitive against Azhar,” he said.

Ariff said the allegation that Azhar might tamper with potential witnesses did not exist as he had left the defence ministry.