Ex-senior civil servant and son get jail for corruption over rural solar projects in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The former secretary-general of Malaysia’s Rural and Regional Development Ministry Mohd Arif Ab Rahman and his son Ahmad Zukhairi have been sentenced to jail for soliciting and accepting bribes to award hybrid solar system projects to certain companies.

Mohd Arif was sentenced to three years’ jail and fined RM3 million (S$987,000), in default three years’ jail, by the Sessions Court here for abetting his eldest son in accepting a S$200,000 bribe.

His 36-year-old son Ahmad Zukhairi was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and fined RM9.6 million, in default 10 years’ jail, after he was found guilty of four counts of soliciting and accepting bribes.

Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi said in her ruling on Wednesday (Nov 14) that there was overwhelming evidence against the two.

“The defence has failed to give an honest explanation that can be accepted by the court, thus failed to raise a reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case,” she said.

On the defence lawyer’s application, the judge granted a stay of execution on both the jail time and fines pending an appeal by the defendants.

She also ordered bail to be raised from RM200,000 to RM500,000 in one surety each.

Mohd Arif, 61, was charged with abetting Ahmad Zukhairi by accepting S$200,000 (RM627,833) from Syarikat Wazlina director Mohd Safian Mohd Salleh.

The bribe was an inducement for a hybrid solar system project in four remote islands off Sandakan, Sabah, worth RM60 million which was awarded to Syarikat Eramaz (M), an associate company of Syarikat Wazlina.

Ahmad Zukhairi was charged with accepting the money from the same person for himself and his father.

He was also charged with soliciting a 2 per cent commission from Mohd Safian, as a bribe to assist Eramaz in securing the Solar Hybrid Rural Electricity Supply project to six islands in Sandakan, Sabah, also worth RM60 million.

He had allegedly solicited the RM1.2 million commission for his father, who was still serving as the secretary-general then, and himself at Grand Dorsett Hotel in Subang Jaya in March 2016.

For the third offence, Ahmad Zukhairi accepted RM70,000 from Zul Fadli Rozi at Permai Golf and Country Club in Kota Kemuning, Section 31 Shah Alam in Aug 2016.

The payment was for assisting HH Global Construction to acquire a RM3.2 million project to construct a three-tier recreational square and related works at Persisiran Tasik Pengkalan Gawi, Tasik Kenyir in Terengganu.

Ahmad Zukhairi committed the fourth offence by accepting another RM50,000 from Zul Fadli Rozi for the same purpose at Garden Course Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Shah Alam in September 2016.

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