Picture: Courtesy of the Sun: Norza accompanied by his lawyer Shafee (right) and a group of supporter leaving the Magistrate's Court.
Money politics: Umno's Norza charged
Umno supreme council member Norza Zakaria was charged this morning in Temerloh magistrate's court in Pahang for alleged involvement in money politics. - Malaysiakini .
He claimed trial to two charges of offering bribes to party delegates to vote for him for the supreme council post in the coming party polls later this month.
Norza, represented by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, was released on a RM10,000 bail in one surety.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's head of prosecution Abdul Razak Musa led the prosecution.
Magistrate Ida Rahayu Sharif fixed April 22 to mention the case.
He is charged with corruptly giving Khadri Musa RM1,500 through Halimi Kamaruzzaman to be distributed to party delegates as inducement to vote for him.
Norza is also charged with corruptly giving RM1,900 to Mohammad Anuar Yunus, also through Halimi Kamaruzzaman, for the same purpose.
The charges are under Section 16 (b)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (Act 694) and punishable under Section 24 of the same Act.
Halimi was also charged under the same Act with bribing Khadri and Mohammad Anuar on behalf of Norza.
He claimed trial and was released on a RM10,000 bail.
Both Norza and Halimi can be jailed for up to 20 years and fined not less than five times the amount of the bribe, whichever is higher.
An aide to face charge too
Norza was arrested in January and released on bail pending investigations.
Prior to this, MACC had rounded up 12 party division leaders for allegedly dabbling in money politics. The commission had also queried Norza for more than eight hours in Temerloh.
Norza is the Federal Territory Umno Youth chief. He was a former political secretary to Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yaacop.
He is also a close associate of Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin and considered to be a member of the prime minister's inner circle.
Norza has never commented on the probe on him but had said that he was assisting MACC in their investigations.
This would be the first big catch of the MACC in its ongoing probe into money politics in Umno.
Halimi, who is a Maran Umno division committee member, had previsouly lodged a police report alleging that he had been tortured by MACC officers to implicate Norza of practising money politics.
On Jan 28, Halimi Kamaruzzaman, 46, claimed that he was assaulted during his four-day remand in Kuantan.
According to him, MACC officers wanted him to confess that Norza was involved in money politics.
It is learnt that he will be charged soon for lodging a false report.
Leaving it to the delegates
Talking to reporters later, Norza said he will not be relinquishing his supreme council post as a result of facing the corruption charges today.
Instead, he said, he would be contesting to retain the post in the coming party polls, adding that he would be leaving his fate to be determined by party delegates.
A teary-eyed Norza also said that he was disappointed with the charges preferred against him. He said that he had contributed a lot to the party.
The emotional Norza, who had to be pacified by his supporters, also said that he would adhere to whatever outcome of the case.
Norza arrived to the court in the morning accompanied by bodyguards and some 30 supporters.