Ag Acted Unfairly In Only Prosecuting Zahid Says Lawyer
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should be acquitted because of selective prosecution and because the key witnesses were not credible, his lawyer said. (Bernama pic)SHAH ALAM: The defence is crying foul that Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was subjected to selective prosecution for 40 counts of corruption when he was home minister.
Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said the public prosecutor, who is also the attorney-general (AG), had acted unfairly and violated Zahid’s right to a fair trial and equal protection of citizens under the law.
“According to two prosecution witnesses, the money Zahid received was a political donation. Why charge him (only) when others were not,” he said in his submission at the close of the prosecution’s case.
Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd’s (UKSB) former directors Harry Lee and David Tan had testified during cross-examination that the money handed to Zahid was a political contribution.
They named former prime ministers Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin, former Sabah chief minister Shafie Apdal, former foreign minister Anifah Aman, former home minister Hishammuddin Hussein and former deputy foreign minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican as those who either received money directly or through proxies from UKSB.
They had also identified Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan, former transport minister Chan Kong Choy and former international trade and industry minister Ong Ka Chuan as recipients of funds from UKSB.
However, all of them had issued media statements to deny the testimonies of Lee and Tan in court.
Hisyam pointed out that the public had also questioned why the public prosecutor spared these politicians from facing criminal charges.
“The public prosecutor must respect the right to fair trial under Article 5 and equal protection accorded to citizens under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution,” he said.
He said receiving a political donation was not an offence, as decided by the Court of Appeal in a majority ruling when acquitting former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.
The former Umno treasurer was said to have received RM2 million from businessman Chai Kin Kong to be used for two by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar in 2016.
Hisyam said Lee, Tan and another UKSB director, Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani, were “untrustworthy, dishonest and had zero credibility”.
“They are accomplices of the highest order. They have no credibility as there are inherent contradictions in their evidence,” he said.
For example, he said, Lee and Tan testified under cross-examination that the money given to Zahid was purely a political donation, but Wan Quoris did not agree.
Hisyam said the trio had committed criminal breach of trust and corruption, were involved in money laundering activities, and failed to disclose to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) of monies that came from Hong Kong.
“In conclusion, the defence states that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case and Zahid should be acquitted due to selective prosecution and because the key witnesses were not credible,” he added.
The prosecution will rebut the defence’s contention on Monday before trial judge Yazid Mustafa.
Zahid, the Umno president and Bagan Datuk MP, is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from UKSB as the then home minister to extend the firm’s contract as the operator of the one-stop centre in China and the foreign visa (VLN) system as well as to maintain the contract agreement for the supply of the VLN integrated system.
He is also accused of another seven counts of obtaining for himself S$1.15 million, RM3 million, 15,000 Swiss francs and US$15,000 from the same company in connection with his official duties.
He is charged with committing all the offences at Seri Satria in Precinct 16, Putrajaya, and at Country Heights, Kajang, between October 2014 and March 2018. - FMT
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