Musa Claims Trial to 35 Graft Charges of RM263M over Timber Concessions

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The Sessions Court here has imposed RM2 million bail with two sureties for former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman, who claimed trial to 35 corruption charges amounting to RM263 million earlier today.

  • Alleged offences took place in Hong Kong and Singapore through proxies 10-14 years ago
  • Of the 35 charges, the name Chia Tien Foh appeared 16 times; Chia, better known as Michael Chia, is a known Musa associate
  • If found guilty, Musa can be jailed between 14 days and 20 years and fined up to five times the amount of the said gratification for each offence

Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob set the amount after hearing arguments from lead prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram and Musa’s lawyers, Amer Hamzah Arshad and Ridha Abdah Subri.

She also ordered for Musa to surrender his passports to the court.

Amer sought for the RM2 million to be paid in instalments, to be settled by Wednesday. He also said Musa would pay RM500,000 today. However, Sri Ram opposed this.

Rozina allowed Musa to pay RM1 million today with the remaining RM1 million to be paid by Wednesday and barred him from flying back to Sabah pending settlement of his bail.

“You have to stay here until you settle your bail,” she said.

One of Musa’s bailors is his nephew, who is based in Shah Alam.

Musa is accused of committing the offences linked to timber concessions in Sabah between Dec 20, 2004 and Nov 6, 2008 in Singapore and Hong Kong, with transactions from US$28,500 to US$16,148,547, amounting to a grand total of RM263 million.

Eight individuals were said to have bribed Musa through the companies linked to them: Lim Nyuk Foh, Looh Chai Boon, Chia Tian Foh, Mazlan Zakaria, Loh Man Heng, Nasir Yeo Guan Hock, Nip Wing Hon and Ngui Ing Cheang.

Of the 35 charges, the name Chia Tien Foh appeared 16 times; Chia, better known as Michael Chia, is a known Musa associate.

The charges come under the Section 11 (a) of Anti-Corruption Act 1997, the precursor to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

If convicted, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of RM10,000 or up to five times the alleged bribes received, whichever amount is higher.

Sri Ram said the prosecution would serve all relevant trial documents in five weeks’ time. He also said there would be no objection if Musa wished to transfer his corruption case to the High Court.

Amer meanwhile told the court he would seek Musa’s instructions on the matter.

Rozina set Dec 13 for next mention.

Musa was arrested after giving his statement at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya at 10.05am earlier.

The 67-year old Sungai Sibuga assemblyman left the MACC building at 1pm in a black SUV in a convoy of four vehicles.

Dressed in a black suit, he arrived at the court at about 1.25pm.

Firdaus Latif

He was then ushered by MACC officers to the Sessions Court on the second floor.

He did not stop to greet the media.

Musa was chief minister of Sabah for 15 years from 2003 until May 2018.