KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — Bank Rakyat chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal did not gain a sen from his alleged abetment of the purported criminal breach of trust involving RM15 million by the bank’s managing director, his lawyer claimed today.
Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said this when arguing that the retired and decorated general could not afford the RM2 million bail amount sought by the prosecution.
“I have taken instruction from my client that if Your Honour were to grant a bail as of anything above RM400,000, my client would really have to land himself in jail.
“Because he is a public servant, he doesn’t have money, he has always been a public servant and if there is any suggestion about the RM14 odd million sum of CBT, I will tell you that not a single sen of that amount has been found to be in his possession,” he told Sessions Court judge Madihah Harullah.
“I can say this without batting an eyelid. I want to demolish all the negative reporting in the media,” he added.
But deputy public prosecutor Masri Mohd Daud responded by saying that it was sufficient for the prosecution to say now that it will demonstrate during the trial that the two men’s alleged actions were offences under Section 409 of the Penal Code.
Masri, who is also the director of prosecution for MACC, added that they will also prove that Bank Rakyat lost nearly RM15 million as a result of the same.
He then urged the judge to consider public interest as well as the minimum prison sentence of two years in fixing the bail amount, arguing that the risk of flight can never be eliminated.
Abdul Aziz was charged this morning with abetting Bank Rakyat managing director Datuk Mustafha Abd Razak in criminal breach of trust involving RM14,991,283.20.
At the Sessions Court here, the Islamic cooperative bank chairman pleaded not guilty and claimed trial to a charge under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 409 of the same law.
Mustafha, who was charged in the same court, also claimed trial to a charge under Section 409.
Section 409 relates to the offence of criminal breach of trust by a public servant or agent, which is punishable with a minimum prison term of two years and a maximum of 20, whipping, and a possible fine.
Abdul Aziz and Mustafha, aged 65 and 48 respectively, were reportedly linked to a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) probe in relation to a RM15 million contract to publish a book on a national leader.
Earlier when seeking a lower bail amount, Mustafha's lawyer, Datuk Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, pointed out that his client was not charged with money laundering or misusing his position for gratification under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, adding that he had not banked in any amount from the alleged sum of over RM14 million.
“So as it stands, there is no grounds to suggest that he has benefitted from the subject matter of this charge,” he said, having noted that the assets of his client and his client's wife had been frozen.
Both Kamarul and Shafee had listed out their clients’ many credentials, and pointed out their cooperation with investigators and voluntary appearance in court today, when arguing that a RM2 billion bail amount was oppressive.
The Sessions Court judge eventually fixed bail at RM400,000 with one surety each and ordered that their passports be surrendered to court.
The judge also granted Shafee's request for Abdul Aziz to be out on bail today and for time to be given for the RM400,000 to be posted by 3pm tomorrow.
The lawyer said his client needed to liquidate his wife's money from various funds and to raise the remaining half from a friend today.
The judge however said Abdul Aziz's passport must be surrendered today.
Deputy public prosecutor Anas Mahadzir had earlier argued that such requests should not be made a precedent and should only be applicable for today's case if it was allowed.
Both cases will be heard together and will come up for mention on October 10.