High Court acquits Azeez’s brother of abetment charges in graft case

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Abdul Latif succeeded in obtaining a full acquittal of abetting his younger brother and ex-Tabung Haji chairperson Abdul Azeez to accept bribes linked to highway projects in Perak and Kedah.

The elder brother of former Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim is now a free man.

The High Court acquitted and discharged Datuk Abdul Latif, 64, of two charges of abetting Azeez to obtain a RM4 million bribe.

Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah today allowed Latif’s application to review a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) ruling made by the Sessions Court against him last year.

Sequerah in his judgment said there was a possibility for Latif, who is expected to testify against his 55-year-old younger brother, being held to ransom by the prosecution.

“The fact that he is to be a witness against Abdul Azeez will open the possibility of the applicant being effectively held to ransom to testify favourably to the prosecution.

“It also will open a possibility of the propriety of such evidence given by the applicant being attacked and subsequently be regarded as tainted,” he said.

Sequerah also said there was nothing forthcoming to show that the prosecution would proceed to continue prosecuting the applicant.

“The prosecution stated the applicant would be charged again if there are any changes in the evidence.

“This cannot be considered a proper reason for DNAA because it does not specify when this will occur,” he said.

On Feb 8 last year, Latif’s cases were dropped by Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi after she allowed an application by the prosecution to grant the DNAA against him.

Latif was accused of abetting his brother in obtaining a RM4 million bribe from Mohammad Redzuan Mohanan Abdullah, who is director of Syarikat Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd as gratification to help the company to secure road projects through limited tender from the Works Ministry.

The court also vacated Azeez’s trial, which was scheduled to resume following a High Court ruling, which granted a stay on the hearing pending Azeez’s application to squash his 13 corruption charges including money laundering.

The Baling member of parliament on Dec 23, 2020, had applied to strike out all of his corruption charges at the High Court after pleading that the charges were defective and groundless.

Azeez claimed the prosecution against him was mala fide.

The trial of the corruption case involving Azeez and his brother Latif had been held before Session’s Court Judge Azura Alwi with five prosecution witnesses being called.

Azeez is charged with three counts of accepting bribes totalling RM5.2 million in connection with road projects in Perak and Kedah, and nine counts of money laundering, involving nearly RM140 million, while his older brother was accused of abetting him.

The project involved the Pantai Baru Coastal Expressway Project, and upgrading works of Federal Road FT005 ( Teluk Intan to Kampung Lekir, Perak) valued at RM644,480,000. – NST