KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — Umno supreme council member Datuk Ahmad Maslan today confirmed that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had previously asked him to pay a RM5 million fine or compound over RM2 million of funds allegedly linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The Pontian MP insisted he did not receive the RM2 million as charged and asserted therefore that he did not need to pay the RM5 million compound imposed on him by the MACC in its October 2019 compound notice.
“I was accused of receiving RM2 million and was asked to pay a RM5 million compound, but this is a separate case. I didn’t receive even one sen, why do I want to pay RM5 million?” he said when met by reporters outside the courthouse here.
Ahmad said the MACC compound notice from October 2019 was a separate case from the one in which he was charged with money laundering this morning.
Last October 7, the MACC announced that it had issued compound notices on 80 individuals and entities, including Ahmad, to recover a total of RM420 million in funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB. It gave them two weeks to pay up.
At that time, the MACC said the fine issued under anti-money laundering laws could be up to 2.5 times the amount allegedly received, and that failure to pay the compound within the time given would result in prosecution.
Ahmad has filed a legal challenge against the compound notice and the High Court is scheduled to hear his judicial review application bid on February 26.
The money-laundering case
Ahmad today claimed trial to two counts of money laundering.
One of the charges is over Ahmad’s alleged failure to declare his actual income for the year 2013 to the Inland Revenue Board after having allegedly received and cashed in a RM2 million cheque from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in November 2013.
The other concerns his allegedly false statements on the matter to an MACC investigator on July 4, 2019. In them, Ahmad was said to have denied receiving the RM2 million or any funds from Najib.
When asked if the money laundering case was connected to the MACC compound notice, Ahmad’s lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh said this was unclear at this stage.
“We also don’t know yet because we have yet to find out about the facts. But from my understanding, it’s different to what we can see now. Maybe the subject matter is the same, but the law, I don’t think it’s the same,” Hamidi told reporters.
“Compound notice is RM2 million, same amount, but I don’t know whether same cheque, same transaction,” he added.
Hamidi said the judicial review which Ahmad had filed previously was to challenge the compound notice which they view as being “premature”.
Hamidi also highlighted that the charges against Ahmad today did not mention the word “1MDB”, saying: “What’s more interesting, I think from the start the story is that it involves 1MDB but it’s not in the charge. There is not one word of 1MDB in the charges today, it is about not declaring income in 2013 and my client denying receiving it from the start.”
Ahmad reiterated his innocence when met by reporters after settling his RM500,000 bail for the money-laundering case at about 1pm.
“I would like to thank my friends for helping me to raise the RM500,000 for my bail. If they did not help then I think I would be in jail,” he said.
Ahmad appeared to be in good humour today, even before appearing in court. He cheekily tweeted a recipe for a “Kimanis” fried rice he cooked for breakfast and later added a pantun on his Twitter account declaring his innocence.