Umno’s Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan has been charged with two offences under anti-money laundering laws – for failure to declare RM2 million allegedly received from Najib Razak and for making false statements to the authorities.
He pleaded not guilty to both charges in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions court today, before judge Azman Ahmad.
In the first charge, he is accused of failing to declare to the Inland Revenue Board, RM2 million which he received in a cheque from Najib dated November 27, 2013.
He is accused of committing the offence on April 30, 2014, at the IRB’s Duta branch in Kuala Lumpur.
In the second charge, Ahmad is accused of giving false statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) when he was questioned at Parliament on July 4, 2019, in which he denied receiving the RM2 million from Najib.
Both charges are under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
For the first charge, Ahmad, 53, faces a penalty of a fine not more RM5 million, jail of not more than five years, or both, if found guilty.
For the second charge of giving false statements, he faces a fine of not more than RM3 million, jail of not more than five years, or both, upon conviction.
According to the charge sheet, Ahmad’s second charge of giving false statements included making the following claims to the MACC officer:
“I never received any payment in cheque or cash worth RM2 million from Najib. I confirm that I have never seen the cheque shown to me. I also confirm I have never seen this cheque from Najib or from anyone else. I have also never cashed this cheque.”
The charge sheet also stated that Ahmad cashed the AmIslamic Bank Bhd cheque for RM2 million on the same day it was issued.
It is believed that the charges are related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad money received from Najib who, as former prime minister, had also been finance minister and Umno president.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Norzilati Izhani Zainal@Zainol asked judge Azman to set bail at RM1 million with one surety and for Ahmad’s passport to be impounded.
Ahmad’s lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh sought a lower bail amount.
He said his client is still a serving MP and is not a flight risk, pointing out that Ahmad had voluntarily turned up in court to answer the charges against him.
The judge set bail at RM500,000 for both charges with one surety and ordered Ahmad to surrender his passport to the court.
The next case mention will be on February 21.
Several Umno leaders turned up in court today to show their support for Ahmad. They included party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa, Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, its Kedah chief Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom and former Johor mentri besar Datuk Khaled Nordin.
Prior to entering chambers, Ahmad read out a four-line pantun in which he declared himself to be innocent and a victim of tyranny.
Ahmad was Umno’s information chief and the former deputy international trade and industry minister.
Last October, MACC had said it was seeking to recover RM420 million from 80 individuals and entities which received money from 1MDB.
Ahmad, as well as former Johor Baru MP Shahrir Samad, were included in the list.
Shahrir is charged today in a separate court.