KUALA LUMPUR: Former Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd (BHIC) managing director Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust totaling RM21 million over the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project scandal.
The former Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief, however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him before Sessions Court judge Suzana Hussin today.
The 78-year-old, clad in a dark suit, arrived at the court complex here about 8am with his family members.
According to the charge sheet, Ramli in his capacity as the then Bousted Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) managing director, was alleged to have approved payments of RM13,541,140; RM1,360,716; and RM6,182,295 to three Singaporean companies without BNS's board of directors' approval.
The three companies are – Setaria Holding Limited, JSD Corporation Pte. Ltd, and Sousmarin Armada Ltd.
The offence was allegedly committed at BHIC headquarters near Jalan Raja Chulan between July 26, 2010 and May 4, 2011.
The offence falls under Section 409 of the Penal Code and carries a maximum 20 years' imprisonment, whipping and fine upon conviction.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin and Ahmad Akram Gharib prosecuted while the accused was represented by counsel Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden.
Akram asked the court to impose RM500,000 bail for all charges against the accused.
Yusof did not object to the amount and told the court that the defence would send a letter of representation to the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC).
"We would like the AGC to review the charges against my client," he said.
The court set RM500,000 bail and asked the accused to surrender his passport until the disposal of the case.
It was learnt that the accused paid the bail.
The court also fixed Nov 24 for mention.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in a statement said that they had completed investigations into the delay involving the RM9.128 billion LCS project.
The investigation paper submitted to the AGC came with MACC's recommendation to charge several people in court.
The cabinet had also called on the MACC to speed up its probe on the ship scandal.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had said those responsible for the scandal should be charged in court once enough evidence had been obtained.
The Public Accounts Committee's findings revealed that there were discrepancies and delays in the construction of six littoral combat ships since 2017.
Several high-profile people were alleged to have played a role in siphoning and abusing their power in the purchase dealing of these ships.
The Parliamentary Select Committee disclosed that the Royal Malaysian Navy's (RMN) first state-of-the-art LCS was not yet completed when it was launched in 2017.
PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said the committee's proceedings found that LCS 1 was less than 44 per cent complete at the time of the launch.