Ex-Mara Inc chairman charged with 22 counts of bribery, money laundering

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Former Mara Incorporated Sdn Bhd (Mara Inc) chairman Datuk Mohammad Lan Allani today pleaded not guilty in two Sessions Courts here, to 22 counts of bribery and money laundering amounting to RM20.45 million involving property deals in Melbourne, Australia.

Fathil Asri/NST

Mohammad Lan, 65, made the plea after all the charges were read in separate courts before judges Azura Alwi and Rozina Ayob.

For the first to 14th charges, he was accused of receiving bribes totalling RM7.45 million in cash from Optimus Capital Sdn Bhd’s director Mazrul Haizad Marof, through 14 Malayan Banking Berhad’s banker’s cheques paid into CIMB Investment Bank Berhad Client Trust account, as an inducement for approving a proposal paper entitled ‘Proposed Acquisition of a Student Accommodation Building and a Commercial Retail Block known as Dudley International House, 7-13 Dudley Street, Caulfield East 3145, Victoria, Australia’.

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For the 15th charge, Mohammad Lan was accused of accepting bribes of RM10 million in cash from Mazrul Haizad as an inducement for approving a proposal paper entitled ‘Proposed Acquisition of a Commercial Building Comprises 281 Units of Student Accommodation known as 746 Swanston Street, Carlton 3053, Victoria, Australia’.

Meanwhile, for the 16th and 17th charges, he was accused of accepting bribes of RM10 million from the same individual through two Malayan Banking Berhad banker’s cheques paid into the CIMB Investment Berhad Client Trust account for the same purpose.

He was accused of committing these offences at Maybank branches in Mont Kiara and Solaris Mont Kiara near here, between September 2012 and July 26, 2013, and he was charged under Section 16 (a) (A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 which is punishable under Section 24 (1) of the same act.

If convicted he could be jailed up to 20 years and a fine of five times the amount of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

For the 18th charge, Mohammad Lan was charged with attempting to solicit bribes amounting to AUD$1 million from Datuk Ding Pei Chai, who is the owner of Marinn Property Pte Ltd as well as Carlton Garden Pte Ltd, while for the 19th and 20th charges, he was accused of attempting to solicit bribes amounting to RM3 million from the same individual.

The money was an inducement to expedite the payment of 10 percent of the first balance and 30 percent of the second balance of the total purchase value of companies’ shares between Ding and Mara Inc.

All the offences were allegedly committed between May and June 2013 at the Connoisseurs Lounge & Restaurant and KL Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) car park as well as in front of a house in Bukit Bandaraya.

He was charged under Section 17 (a) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years or a fine of not less than five times the amount of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

For the 21st and 22nd charges, which were read before Rozina, Mohammad Lan was accused of engaging in money laundering activities by transferring RM10 million from his CIMB Bank Private Banking Portfolio account to his CIMB Bank Berhad’s accounts, believed to be the proceeds from illegal activities.

He was alleged to have committed the offences at CIMB Bank Jalan Sagunting, Central Building, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, on Dec 10, 2012, and was charged under Section 4 (1) Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Act 613) and is punishable under Section 4 (1) of the same law which provides for a maximum fine of RM5 million or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both, if convicted.

Earlier, Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib did not offer any bail as these were non-bailable offences.

“However, if the court wants to use its discretion to allowing bail, the prosecution seeks bail set at RM400,000 in one surety and the accused’s passport to be surrendered to the court until the disposal of the case,” he said.

Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who was representing Mohammad Lan, did not object to the amount but applied for bail to be paid in two instalments of RM200,000 today, with the balance to be paid on or before Feb 15.

“There is no risk of my client fleeing as he has been placed on RM10,000 bail by the MACC since 2016. He also has heart and spine problems,” said the lawyer.

The accused was then allowed bail of RM400,000 (to be paid in two instalments) in one surety and his passport to be surrendered to the court until the disposal of the case.

The court set April 8 for mention.


Earlier report: Feb 3, Ex-Mara Inc chairperson arrested, to face charges over RM33.45m bribe