Ex MARA Inc chairman pleads not guilty to 22 corruption and money laundering charges

Ex MARA Inc chairman pleads not guilty to 22 corruption and money laundering charges
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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 5): Former chairman of MARA Incorporated (MARA Inc) Datuk Mohammad Lan Allani pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court today to 22 counts of bribery and money laundering of RM20.45 million from controversial property purchases in Melbourne, Australia. 

Lan Allani, 65, was charged with 20 counts of corruption under Sections 16(a) and 17(a) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 for receiving bribes and two counts of money laundering under Section 2(4) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

Lan Allani was charged in two separate courts before Judges Rozilah Salleh and Rozina Ayob.

After lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik representing Lan Allani asked for a lighter bail for his client, the court then set the amount at RM400,000.

Half the amount is to be paid by today and the other half by Feb 16. 

The court set April 8 for case management. 

The prosecution was led by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ahmad Akram Gharib.

According to MACC sources, investigations into the case began after news portal The Sydney Morning Herald reported last year that a Malaysian living in Australia was charged with bribing a foreign officer relating to the sale of the Dudley International House student dormitory in Melbourne to MARA Inc. 

The Australian newspaper The Age also claimed that a group of very wealthy Malaysian officers overpaid by A$4.75 million (RM13.8 million) for an apartment block in the city in 2013, and that the difference had been channelled to several people. 

Dudley International House is a student dormitory bought by MARA, an agency that provides scholarships to Malaysian students furthering their studies overseas. 

MARA Inc also owns a 12-storey building on Swanston Street, Melbourne that was purchased in 2012 with the media reporting that it suffered losses of almost RM60 million in that transaction.

MARA Inc owns another building on Exhibition Street, with a combined value of all three properties in Melbourne reaching RM300 million.

Surin Murugiah