Shahrir acquitted of RM1m money laundering case

Shahrir acquitted of RM1m money laundering case

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today freed former Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Ab Samad of a charge of failing to declare to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) an income of RM1 million allegedly received from Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Justice Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin acquitted and discharged Shahrir, 73, after deputy public prosecutor Rasyidah Murni Azmi told the court that the prosecution did not wish to continue with the case.

“The deputy public prosecutor confirms that the prosecution process will not be continued any time soon. In such a situation it is appropriate for the accused to be acquitted and discharged.

“The court is using Section 254 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, apart from being bound by the Federal Court decision referred to by the defence. I order for the accused to be acquitted and discharged. The trial dates of Feb 27 and 28 this year have been vacated, and bail and passport will be returned to the accused,” said judge Muhammad Jamil.

Shahrir, 73, a former Johor Bahru Member of Parliament, was charged with money laundering for not stating his real income in the Income Tax Return Form for Assessment Year 2013, which is a violation of Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967, by not declaring the RM1 million, which he received from the former prime minister in a cheque and banked into his account.

He was charged with committing the offence at IRB, Duta Branch, Government Office Complex, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here on April 25, 2014.

The charge, under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, provides for imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of RM5 million or both, upon conviction.

Najib, who was present in court today, was supposed to testify as the 23rd prosecution witness in the case.

Earlier, Rasyidah Murni said the prosecution was applying to use the provision under Section 254 of the Criminal Procedure Code to discontinue the prosecution process against Shahrir.

“In this connection, My Lordship, the prosecution is applying for the accused to be given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal,” she said.

The section states that the public prosecutor at any stage of the trial before judgment is given can choose not to continue with the case and to stop all proceedings with the consent of the court.

Asked by Justice Muhammad Jamil why the prosecution wanted to discontinue the case, Rasyidah Murni said: “The instruction received is not to proceed with the prosecution process, only that.”

Muhammad Jamil: Would the prosecution of the accused be continued at a date in the near future?

Rasyidah Murni: No, My Lord.

More to come… Bernama