Zahid Granted Discharge Not Amounting To Acquittal On All 47 Of His Corruption Charges

After the ruling today, 4 September, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi expressed hope that the country will not witness any politically motivated charges in the future.

Cover image via Ahmad Zamzahuri/Malay Mail & Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali/New Straits Times

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The Kuala Lumpur High Court has granted Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi a discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) on all 47 of his charges in the Yayasan Akalbudi case

Being granted DNAA does not mean that the accused is freed from the charges. Instead, the case is temporarily put on hold or suspended, and the prosecution has the option to refile the charges or reinstate the case at a later time if new evidence or circumstances warrant it.

In his judgement today, 4 September, Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah granted Zahid the DNAA after hearing submissions from the prosecution and the defence, reported FMT.

This comes after Zahid and his defence team submitted hundreds of pages of representations to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) on four occasions, which led to the prosecution requiring more time for examinations.

A representation is an assertion of fact which is considered to be true on the date the representation is made. It is made to induce another party to enter into a contract.

"The representations are about 200 pages and it is justified for further examination to be conducted," said Sequerah.

According to The Star, Zahid's lawyers made the representation submissions on 8 December last year, as well as on 25 January, 28 February, and 7 March this year.

Deputy public prosecutor Dusuki Mokhtar had earlier said the representations required further probes by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Zahid waving to his supporters at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex after being granted DNAA today, 4 September.

Image via Ahmad Zamzahuri/Malay Mail

Additionally, Sequerah said the ruling was made in view of a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) that was launched to look into claims made in former attorney-general (AG) Tommy Thomas' controversial memoir

The RCI was formed to investigate the allegations of selective prosecution during Thomas' tenure as the AG, specifically.

Sequerah said that the case has been ongoing for 77 days, during which 99 prosecution witnesses and 15 defence witnesses testified.

"As such, I make an order of discharge not amounting to an acquittal," FMT quoted the High Court judge as saying.

He added that the court did not question the Attorney-General and the public prosecutor, who have the authority to initiate and withdraw charges at any point before a verdict is reached, as stipulated in Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution and Section 254(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

On 19 October 2018, Zahid was charged with 12 counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight counts of bribery, and 27 counts of money laundering involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds

Less than four years later, on 24 January 2022, the High Court ordered him to enter his defence after Sequerah ruled that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against him, reported New Straits Times.

Zahid was accused of siphoning millions of ringgit from Yayasan Akalbudi and accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as the home minister between 2013 and 2018.

In today's proceedings, Zahid's defence counsel, Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, asked the court to acquit the UMNO president, arguing that it is "unjust and unfair" for the case to be delayed, as it has been ongoing since 2018.

After being granted the DNAA, Zahid thanked those who have supported him and expressed hope that the country will not witness any politically motivated charges in the future, reported New Straits Times.

In September last year, Zahid was acquitted of all 40 charges of receiving bribes in the foreign visa corruption trial:

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