Malaysia – Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan paid a penalty of RM1.1 million for failing to disclose RM2 million from Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the Inland Revenue Board, as explained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
According to the commission, the compound payment was a form of punishment for money laundering.
MACC stated in a statement published recently that Ahmad had made several statements to authorities via his attorneys during his criminal prosecution, before ultimately agreeing to compound payment after his arrest on January 20, 2020, for money laundering.
The statement says that MACC wishes to clarify that the compound (payment) imposed on the accused is a punitive measure against any individuals charged with said offense and is a form of asset recovery under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA).
Additionally, it said that Ahmad’s payment was compliant with Section 92(1) of the AMLATFPUAA.
MACC further said that Ahmad was offered a similar settlement in October 2019 but declined, opting instead to pursue a trial.
Ahmad’s acquittal was reminiscent of Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz’s conditional discharge from five money laundering counts involving US$248 million (RM1.04 billion) reportedly related to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
Ahmad was acquitted earlier when the prosecution dropped the two accusations, according to reports.
Ahmad’s attorneys have said that the payment did not preclude him from serving as a federal legislator since it was not a “fine.”
According to Article 48(1) of the Federal Constitution, a person is ineligible to be a Member of Parliament or to compete for election if he has been sentenced to at least one year in jail or a fine of at least RM2,000.
The first charge was that he neglected to disclose to the Inland Revenue Board RM2 million in 2014 that he got from then-Prime Minister Najib.
The second charge was that Ahmad lied to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in 2019 about a tax issue. Ahmad has served as the Pontian MP since 2008 and is now the UMNO Secretary-General