Court of Appeal reinstates abuse of power charges against Muhyiddin

THE Court of Appeal has overturned the discharge and acquittal of former premier Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and reinstated four abuse of power charges against him related to the Jana Wibawa programme.

In a unanimous decision today, the three-person bench chaired by Hadhariah Syed Ali reversed the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s ruling from Aug 15 last year. The High Court had allowed Muhyiddin’s challenge against the charges citing vagueness and defects.

The Court of Appeal comprising judges Azmi Ariffin and Datuk SM Komathy accepted the prosecution’s appeal to reinstate the abuse of power charges. Hadhariah, speaking on behalf of the bench, ruled that the charges were clear and unambiguous.

High Court judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin had previously deemed the abuse of power charges defective on Aug 15 last year, citing discrepancies with the Criminal Procedure Code and insufficient particulars under the MACC Act 2009.

“The charges did not reveal sufficient particulars on the alleged offence under the MACC Act 2009. Among the lack of clarity on the four charges was whether Muhyiddin was accused of making an unlawful decision or unlawfully used his position.”

However, Muhyiddin still faces three pending money laundering charges at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.

The abuse of power charges against Muhyiddin stem from his tenure as prime minister and Bersatu president, alleging an inducement of RM232.5 mil from three companies and an individual between March 1, 2020, and Aug 20, 2021.

The companies involved are Bukhary Equity, Nepturis Sdn Bhd, and Mamfor Sdn Bhd, with Azman Yusoff named as the individual.

The three money laundering charges were laid out under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amlatfpuaa) – read with Section 87(1) of the same act.

The 77-year-old was accused of abusing his powers for Bersatu to receive RM125 mil of proceeds from illegal activity from Bukhary Equity – between Feb 25, 2021, and July 8, 2022.

The charges did not allege that payment was made to Muhyiddin. Instead, the alleged money laundering involved funds being deposited into Bersatu’s account.

Money laundering is the act of concealing the origins of financial assets to enable their use without detection of the underlying illegal activity. This process transforms proceeds from criminal activity into seemingly legitimate funds. – Feb 28, 2024

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