KOTA KINABALU, Aug 9 — The Special Court for Corruption here on Tuesday freed former Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony from five money laundering charges and one charge of abetting in committing breach of a contract with a lawyer.
Judge Abu Bakar Manat ordered the acquittal and discharge after the prosecution informed the court that the 49-year-old accused’s representation to the deputy public prosecutor’s office had been accepted.
In his decision, the judge held that having considered the submission by the prosecution and request by the defence counsel and taken into consideration the provision under Section 254 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the court still has the discretion to give the order of discharge and acquittal if the prosecution clearly no longer wished to proceed with the case as what happened in this case.
“The court hereby orders that Peter be discharged and acquitted from all the six charges faced by him in this court,” the judge ruled.
The court also ordered for Peter’s bail be refunded and all bail conditions imposed on him be withdrawn.
Earlier, the prosecution informed the court that a representation letter filed by Peter had been accepted, however, the prosecution requested for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal be given since one of the charges against him was predicated which is an abetment charge.
However, counsel Martin Tommy who represented the Malalap assemblyman, requested for Peter be given a discharge and acquittal since the prosecution was no longer interested to proceed with his cases.
Meanwhile, a representation by the lawyer, Persius Henry Bolutong @ Michael Persius Ubu, 64, against all his charges was rejected.
The court fixed October 12 for further mention of Persius Henry’s case and extended his bail.
On June 11, 2021, Peter had claimed trial to a charge of instructing two company directors to transfer RM1,750,000 from a company’s account to another account and four charges of accepting a total of RM7 million allegedly obtained from illegal activities to be credited into his company’s account.
On the first count, Peter was accused of involving in illegal activity transactions by instructing the two staff of a company to transfer the said amount to another company’s account at a bank branch at Jalan Perpaduan in Kampung Air here on July 25, 2014.
On the second count, he was alleged to have accepted RM2 million obtained from illegal activity from a company which was allegedly credited to his company’s account at the same place on August 4, 2014.
These two charges were levelled under pre amendment Act of Section 4 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act (AMLATFA) 2001 which provides for a fine of up to RM5 million or a jail term of up to five years, or both, upon conviction.
The said Act was amended on September 1, 2014.
Therefore, Peter’s third to fifth charges were framed under post amendment Act of Section 4 (1) (b) of the AMLATFPUA 2001 as it was allegedly committed at the same place on September 5, 2014, December 7, 2015 and November 20, 2015 respectively.
For this post amendment Act, the provision of the section provides for a jail term of up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times of the alleged amount of illegally activities or equipment or RM5 million or which amount is higher, upon conviction.
The three charges accused Peter of accepting RM500,000, RM400,000 and RM4,100,000 respectively, allegedly obtained from illegal activities from a company with RM900,000 allegedly credited to his company’s account.
For these five charges Peter was previously granted a bail of RM500,000 with two local sureties and his passport was ordered to be impounded by the court but he has liberty to apply to get it if there is necessity.
Peter was also ordered to report at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) office once every two months.
Then on June 18, 2021, he had pleaded not guilty before the same court here to abetting with the lawyer in embezzling RM15,545,400 being the ten per cent payment of the purchase of several acres of oil palm plantation land in Tongod.
He was alleged to have abetted with Persius Henry, 64, in the alleged breach of a contract agreed between Michael Ubu and Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda).
The charge stated that Micheal, who is an agent to Risda, in his capacity was entrusted with the money, which was paid via a cheque into the bank account of Tetuan Micheal Ubu & Co for the purpose of the 10 per cent payment from the purchase of 6,768.688-acre land at Sg Pinangah and Sg Labau, both in Tongod.
Peter was alleged to have committed the offence at Tetuan Micheal Ubu & Co, Beverly Hills Plaza, Jalan Bundusan in Penampang between July 22, 2014 and November 19, 2015.
The alleged offence was under Section 109 of the Penal Code and read together under Section 409 of the same Code, which carries a jail term of between two years and 20 years and with whipping and also liable to fine, upon conviction.
The court had on that day granted for the previous bail conditions to be adopted and the sum of bail is the same as the previous amount since there were possibilities for Peter’s cases to be consolidated and jointly tried.
Deputy public prosecutor Haresh Prakash Somiah prosecuted while counsel Khairudin Noordin and Petrene Susanna Peter also represented Peter. Counsel Zahir Shah represented Persius Henry. — Borneo Post