Former Tabung Haji (TH) chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (centre) leaving the Sessions Court here today after being charged with receiving bribes and money laundering. -- Pix: NSTP/MOHAMAD SHAHRIL BADRI SAALI

KUALA LUMPUR: Baling member of parliament Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and his brother Datuk Abdul Latif were charged at the Sessions Court here today with graft and money laundering amounting to RM144.5 million, since Dec 2010.

The duo, who arrived at the Jalan Duta court complex at 8am, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read separately to them before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi.

Azeez, a former Tabung Haji chairman, was slapped with three charges of receiving bribes worth RM5.2 million and nine charges of money laundering amounting to RM139.3 million.

He was accused of receiving the kickbacks from Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd director Mohammad Redzuan Mohanan Abdullah, between December 2010 and April last year, as an inducement for the company to obtain RM197.8 million worth of road projects in Kedah and Perak from the government through direct negotiation and selective tender.

For the second and third charge, he was accused of receiving RM4 million in two transactions from the same person as a reward for him assisting the company to obtain road projects worth RM842.2 million through limited tender from the Works Ministry.

The offences were allegedly committed at CIMB Bank, Jalan Tun Perak in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 8, 2010 (for the first charge) and Affin Bank, Pusat Bandar Puchong in Selangor on June 13, 2017 and April 10, 2018 (for the second and third charge).

The charges against Azeez were framed under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009,

As for the money laundering charges, he was alleged to have received proceeds through unlawful activities totalling RM139.4 millions from several companies, between March 2010 and August 2018.

All the offences were allegedly committed in the Klang Valley between March 8, 2010 and Aug 30, 2018.

The charges were filed under Section 4(1)(b) of Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001, which provides an imprisonment for up to 15 years and fine of not less than five times the value of the proceeds obtained or RM5 million, whichever is higher, if found guilty.

Meanwhile, his brother Abdul Latif was accused of abetting him on two counts in obtaining the RM4 million bribe in two transactions from Menuju Asas, between June 2017 and April last year.

The charges, under Section 28(1)(c) of the MACC Act, carries maximum 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram suggested the court to fix RM800,000 and RM500,000 bails against Azeez and Latif.

He also told the court that the prosecution would apply for the cases to be transferred to the High Court.

Counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who represented the duo, agreed with the bails offered by the prosecution.

The court set March 27 for mention.