PUTRAJAYA: Former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman was on Monday (Nov 5) charged with 35 counts of corruption involving about US$63 million.
The charges relate to logging contracts in Sabah. He allegedly received bribes in exchange for offering timber concessions in the east Malaysian state.
Musa, who claimed trial, was allowed to be released on bail of RM2 million (US$479,000) with two sureties. He was also ordered to surrender his civil and diplomatic passports to the court.
His case will be mentioned again on Dec 13.
Musa was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at its headquarters at 10.05am on Monday.
The MACC said in a statement that it had received consent from the Attorney-General's Chambers to charge Musa under the Anti-Corruption Act (ACA) 1997.
Musa was sought by the police to help in investigations connected to a police report made by Sabah’s head of state, Juhar Mahiruddin, over alleged criminal intimidation.
Musa, who is from the Barisan Nasional's largest component party UMNO, was originally sworn in as the chief minister of Sabah on May 10, after the BN coalition secured a simple majority in the state in the general election, enabling him to form the government.
However, he lost the simple majority when several UMNO assemblymen jumped ship and supported the then-opposition. This made way for Mohd Shafie, who heads Parti Warisan Sabah, to be sworn in as the chief minister on May 12.
Musa was then blacklisted from leaving Malaysia, but was sighted in London in May.
Malaysian Immigration authorities said there were no records of Musa leaving the country. But Musa broke his silence in June and confirmed that he was in the UK for medical and other personal reasons.
He also said in a statement that he had left Malaysia “perfectly lawfully” on May 16.
The charges against Musa come two days before the court is set to rule on his challenge against Mohd Shafie's legitimacy as Sabah's current chief minister.
Sabah police said they will tighten security in several areas ahead of the Nov 7 decision.
Sabah police chief Omar Mammah said that besides the area around the Kota Kinabalu Court Complex, security will also be tightened at the Sabah State Administrative Centre and other unspecified areas.
“I wish to advise supporters from both sides to respect public safety and order.
“Police will not hesitate to arrest anyone who tries to create trouble and interfere with court proceedings,” he added.