Former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman claimed trial today to 35 charges with allegedly receiving around US$63.29 million (RM264 million) in bribes for conferring timber concessions in Sabah.
The 67-year-old Sungai Sibuga assemblyman pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here when the charges proffered under Subsection 11(a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 was read out to him before Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob.
Musa was accused of receiving the bribes through several international bank accounts in Hong Kong and Singapore between 2004 and 2008.
The offence was alleged to have taken place during his capacity as Sabah Chief Minister and chairman of Yayasan Sabah to award timber projects in the state.
If convicted, Musa may be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than fourteen days and not more than twenty years and a fine of not less than five times or RM10,000, whichever is the higher for each of the charges.
It took interpreters about 45 minutes to read out all the 35 charges.
Musa was arrested after giving his statement at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya at 10.05am earlier.
Musa was chief minister from 2003 until the May 9 general election when Barisan Nasional lost the state government to Warisan, led by Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.
He was sworn in as chief minister on May 10 after securing a simple majority, but lost the majority when several assemblymen from Umno and Upko jumped ship to support Shafie’s party.
Musa joins his former Barisan Nasional counterparts who have also been charged with corruption ― former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who both face a mammoth list of charges.
Najib faces 38 charges of money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad and its former subsidiary SEC International Sdn Bhd.
Ahmad Zahid, who is currently Umno president, has been slapped with 45 charges related to CBT, money laundering and corruption.