A lawyer claimed trial today to three counts of money laundering and breach of trust amounting to millions of ringgit involving a Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) land deal.
Persius Henry Boluting @ Michael Persius Ubu pleaded not guilty when the charges were read separately before Sessions Judge Abu Bakar Manat.
The 63-year-old lawyer was charged under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 for allegedly laundering RM1 million received from Budiman Juta Sdn Bhd on July 25, 2014.
Ubu was also charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, for allegedly receiving RM2.96 million from the same company between Nov 27, 2016, and May 10, 2016.
In both offences, the money was believed to be proceeds obtained from illegal activities and he was accused of committing the offences at the Berverly Hills Plaza in Penampang.
He was also charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code for breach of trust.
According to the charge sheet, Ubu in his capacity as a Risda agent was entrusted with authority over RM15.54 million, which was paid by cheque via Bank Muamalat into Tetuan Michael Ubu @ Co’s bank account.
The money was 10 per cent payment from the sale price for the purchase of 6,768.688 acres of oil palm land in Tongod.
He was accused of fraudulently releasing the property by breach of contact allegedly between him and Risda.
Ubu was alleged to have committed the offences at his law firm in Beverly Hills Plaza between July 22, 2014, and Nov 19, 2015.
The prosecution team was led by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamad Fadhly Mohamad Zamry while Ubu was represented by counsel Zahir Syah and Angela Ubu.
The court granted Ubu RM1 million bail with two local sureties and to surrender his passport to the court. He was also required to report to the Kota Kinabalu MACC office once in two weeks. Failing to do so, his bail would be revoked.
Ubu is the second person to be charged with money laundering offences linked to Risda.
On June 11, Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony was slapped with five counts of money laundering amounting to RM8.75 million.
Three of the offences were under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
Two others were under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 and Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, respectively.