PUTRAJAYA, March 22 — A senior police officer was sentenced to 10 years in jail and fined RM42 million by the Court of Appeal on eight charges of money laundering involving a total sum of RM3.35 million.

A three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Has Zanah Mehat, Datuk Nordin Hassan and Datuk Hashim Hamzah allowed the prosecution’s appeal to enhance Deputy Superintendent Mohd Ismail Syed Merah’s jail sentence.

Previously, the High Court in Johor Baru imposed a four-year jail sentence on Mohd Ismail, 59.

It (the court) also allowed the prosecution’s appeal to impose a total fine of RM42 million on Mohd Ismail while failure to pay the fine would give him a jail term of 48 months.

Meanwhile, the court dismissed Mohd Ismail’s appeal against his conviction and jail sentence.

In the court’s unanimous decision, Justice Nordin said the court handed down the enhanced custodial sentence against Mohd Ismail to reflect the seriousness of his offence.

He said the High Court judge was correct in his findings that the monies seized from Mohd Ismail’s house were proceeds from unlawful activities.

He added that Mohd Ismail, as a police officer who was entrusted to uphold the law, had betrayed that trust and protected the illegal gambling operators.

Justice Nordin said it was reasonable to infer that the RM1.27 million and 8,178,000 rupiah (RM2,403) found in several boxes in Mohd Ismail’s house were monies, among others, from two operators of illegal gambling activities, for him (Mohd Ismail) not to take any action against these activities.

“His salary as a police officer was only RM6,000 per month and paid into his bank account but how could he accumulate the large sum of money?” he said.

Mohd Ismail was charged on the first five counts, with using monies obtained from unlawful activities, involving RM10,143.37, RM40,000, RM6,283.09, RM993,716.91 and RM500,000, respectively, to buy and increase investments in the Takaful Life Insurance Protection Plan and Takaful Link Plan registered under his daughter’s name, Nur Aqillah Mohd Ismail.

The other two charges were for committing money laundering, involving RM499,620 and RM29,950, using a third party account belonging to one Tan Kim Tee.

Mohd Ismail committed the offences at the MAA Takaful Building, Jalan Tun Razak, Johor Baru and at two bank premises, namely, RHB and CIMB in Jalan Rahmat, Batu Pahat, Johor between September 4, 2014 and December 28, 2015.

Mohd Ismail also faced the eighth charge of possessing RM1.27 million and 8,178,000 rupiah in his house which were proceeds from unlawful activities.

In 2019, Ismail was acquitted and discharged by the Johor Baru Sessions Court of all the money laundering charges. However, in 2020, the High Court convicted him on all of the charges and sentenced him to four years’ jail on each charge and to run concurrently.

On the first and second charge, the appellate court ordered Mohd Ismail to serve a year’s imprisonment on each of the charges that were to run concurrently. He was given one year and two years’ jail terms respectively on the third and fourth charge, and to also run concurrently.

Ismail will start his two years’ jail sentence on his third and fourth charge after he completed his one-year imprisonment on the first and second charge.

On the fifth charge, Mohd Ismail was sentenced to two years’ jail and another two years on the sixth charge. He was given a year’s imprisonment on the seventh charge and two years on the eighth charge.

The jail terms are to run consecutively and to start after he (Mohd Ismail) completed the two years’ imprisonment on the third and fourth charge.

The court had imposed on Mohd Ismail a fine of RM5 million in default six months’ jail on each of the seven charges and a fine of RM7 million in default six months’ jail on the eighth charge.

Mohd Ismail was represented by a team of lawyers led by Datuk Wan Azmir Wan Majid while deputy public prosecutors Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar and Mohd Fairuz Johari appeared for the prosecution. — Bernama