Musa Aman’s trial set for next June

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 24, 2019.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman’s trial involving 35 charges of receiving bribes and 16 charges of money laundering is set for June and July next year, with the charges to be jointly heard before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

Musa claimed trial to the allegations against him after all the 51 charges were read again yesterday, following the transfer of the case from the Sessions to the High Court.

Given that the court does not have any more free dates this year, Justice Sequerah set a total of 24 days for the trial in June and July next year.

The trial will commence on June 8 next year up to June 25 and will continue from July 6 to July 23. There will be no proceedings on Fridays, as per the request of deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran.

Musa’s lawyer Francis Ng Aik Guan had requested for a witness list to be shared with the defence.

The judge had set July 24 this year for case management for any updates on the charges against the accused, given that the former chief minister had previously filed an application to challenge the constitutionality of the 16 money laundering charges made against him.

On Nov 5 last year, Musa claimed trial to 35 counts of graft involving US$63 million he allegedly received in Hong Kong and Singapore as an inducement for offering timber concessions in Sabah. He was then charged with and claimed trial to 16 counts of money laundering in March this year.

Under the money laundering allegations, Musa is firstly charged with directing his proxy Richard Christopher Barnes, who is also his lawyer, to open a UBS AG Bank account (0/231,117/01,00) in Singapore on June 21, 2006 for the purpose of allegedly receiving the illegal money.

Alternatively, he is charged with asking Barnes to hide the fact that the bank account (0/231,117/01,00) is owned by him to hide the receiving of the illegal proceeds at the same place and time.

Besides this, Musa is charged with 14 charges of receiving illegal proceeds to the amount of US$37.8 million and S$2.5 million at the UBS AG branch in Hong Kong between June 21, 2006 and March 25, 2008.

On his 16th charge, the former Sabah chief minister is charged with directing Barnes to transfer all assets and future inflow from Barnes’ UBS account to his own UBS account (230-750692.01) in Zurich on May 14, 2008.