JOHOR BARU: A district health officer and an assistant accountant were today charged in the sessions court with 49 counts of corruption involving over RM800,000 between 2015 and 2016.

Dr Zaharah Mohd Salleh, 59, and Noor Shazriena Miskam, 34, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read out to them separately, before judge Kamarudin Kamsun.

Dr Zaharah was charged with providing false payment vouchers totalling RM807,816.27 to the Ministry of Health, which included payment for supply of goods involving five companies which she knew were false and not supplied.

Noor Shazriena was charged with abetting Dr Zaharah in committing the offences under Section 28(1)(c) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption (MACC) Act 2009, read together with Section 18 and punishable under Section 24(2) of the same act.

They were charged with committing the offences at Ledang Health Office between March 2015 and November 2016.

Dr Zaharah is alleged to have committed the offence under Section 18 of the MACC Act 2009 and punishable under Section 24(2) of the same act.

The charges provide for a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine, no less than five times the amount of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

MACC deputy public prosecutor Suhaili Sapun suggested the court to offer bail of RM100,000 for each of the accused.

Lawyers Gan Seong Kim and Siti Nasrina Hasbullah, who represented Dr Zaharah and Noor Shazriena, appealed for the reduction in the sum on the grounds that Dr Zaharah was suffering from colon cancer while Noor Shazriena had five children to support.

Kamarudin set bail at RM50,000 for Dr Zaharah and RM60,000 for Noor Shazriena, in one surety each.

The court also ordered the accused to surrender their passports before setting March 15 for mention. - Bernama