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Daim claims trial to failure to declare assets

KUALA LUMPUR – Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, 86, has pleaded not guilty in the sessions court here today to a charge of failing to declare 70 assets and one bank account to the anti-graft authorities.

Daim, whose name in the charge sheet is Che Abdul Daim Zainuddin, appeared calm and answered in the affirmative when asked if he understood the charge that was read to him before judge Azura Alwi.

“I claim trial,” he said briefly.

Daim, who was in a wheelchair and appeared frail, was allowed to be seated outside the dock while the charge was read to him.

The court allowed him bail of RM280,000, in one surety.

The undeclared assets include 38 companies, seven luxury vehicles such as a Rolls Royce Royce 2 Axle Rigid Body, three Mercedes-Benz, a Jaguar XJS HE, an Austin Morris Austin and a Ford Prefect, and 25 properties that include condominium units, houses and hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Pahang, Negri Sembilan and Kedah.

Daim is charged with failing to declare his assets by deliberately giving a written statement under oath that did not comply with the terms of a notice dated November 8, 2023, and sent to him by a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer with the rank of commissioner on November 14, 2023.

The offence was allegedly committed at the MACC headquarters, Putrajaya, on December 13, 2023.

The charge, framed under Section 36(2) of the MACC Act 2009, provides for a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine of up to RM100,000, if convicted.

Daim, who had two spells as finance minister – from 1984 to 1991 and from 1999 to 2001 – had been given five extensions by the MACC to declare his assets since the first notice on June 7 last year.

The November 14 date in the charge sheet was the fifth and last extension for him to declare his assets. Subsequently, he had his commercial building, Ilham Tower, seized by the MACC last month.

The MACC’s investigation into the powerful ally of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad began in February last year, over information linked to his naming in the Pandora Papers published in 2021.

On January 23, Daim’s wife, Toh Puan Na’imah Abdul Khalid, 67, was also charged in the Kuala Lumpur sessions court for similarly failing to comply with a notice to declare 12 properties, including Ilham Tower and several properties in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. She also claimed trial. – Scoop

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