DEPUTY Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been granted a discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) on all 47 of his corruption, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering charges involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds.
Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah in his judgement said the extended time needed for investigation was justifiable as the representations submitted by the defence had taken up hundreds of pages for examinations by the prosecution.
“It is therefore justified for the prosecution to examine these representations which also involved talking statements from various individuals,” he said today (Sept 4).
Earlier, the prosecution has applied for Zahid to be discharged but not acquitted as further investigations are still needed for the case.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar listed 11 reasons for it; these included ensuring no miscarriage of justice is committed and to make way for more comprehensive investigations by the authorities.
He also said the defence had submitted several representations to the Attorney-General’s Chambers on Dec 8 last year and Jan 25; and again on Feb 28 and March 7.
Mohd Dusuki also said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is still investigating the case after Zahid made representations.
He also said the DNAA is in view of the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) formed to look into claims in former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas’s controversial memoir, particularly on alleged selective prosecution.
“The representations are about 200 pages and it is justified for further examination to be conducted,” Sequerah was reported as saying.
In his judgement Sequerah further noted that the court is placing the DNAA order as the case has been ongoing for 77 days involving 99 prosecution witnesses and 15 defence witnesses had come forward.
“As such, I make an order of discharge not amounting to an acquittal,” he said.
He said the powers exercised by the AGC under the Article 145 of the Federal Constitution and Section 254 of the Criminal Procedure Code to destitute or withdraw charges at any time before judgement is unquestioned.
On Jan 24 last year, Sequerah had ordered Zahid to enter his defence after ruling that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against him.
A total of 99 prosecution witnesses had testified in the trial which began on Nov 18, 2019.
Zahid had been standing trial on charges of money laundering and CBT involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi, and accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as home minister.
Twelve of the charges were for CBT, eight for corruption and the remainder for money laundering.
He began his defence in May last year. Thirteen other witnesses also gave evidence in support of his defence.
On April 10 this year, deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Abdul Malik Ayob told Sequerah the defence had sent representations and the AGC was looking into the matter.
He said MACC was also conducting further investigations after a second round of representations, running into 200 pages, was made. – Sept 4, 2023
Main pic credit: Bernama