KUALA LUMPUR: Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin and wife, Zizie Izette, were granted a temporary reprieve from entering their defence on charges of corruption and abetment after the High Court allowed an application to stay the trial pending the outcome of their appeals to the Court of Appeal.
Judicial commissioner Azhar Abdul Hamid allowed the couple’s application after deputy public prosecutor Sophian Zakaria informed the court that the prosecution had no objection to their request for a stay.
Bung was scheduled to open his defence by taking the witness stand this morning.
The decision prompted sessions court judge Rozina Ayob, who is presiding over the trial, to fix the case for mention on Jan 27 pending a proceeding in the Court of Appeal scheduled two days earlier.
DPP Law Chin How, who is appearing with Sophian, said a deputy registrar of the appeals court is expected to fix a hearing date for the appeals when the matter comes up for case management on Jan 25.
Early last month the couple filed their respective appeals to the Court of Appeal after Azhar rejected their mode of challenging a Sept 2 order issued by Rozina calling for their defence.
Azhar allowed the prosecution’s preliminary objection, holding that Bung and Zizie were wrong to file motions, supported by affidavits, seeking a revision of Rozina’s decision.
The prosecution had successfully contended that the couple ought to have requested the review by a letter to the High Court.
Bung, a Sabah deputy chief minister, is charged with two counts of receiving bribes amounting to RM2.2 million and RM262,500 as gratification when he was Felcra’s chairman.
He is alleged to have done so to obtain Felcra’s approval to make a RM150 million Public Mutual unit trust investment in June 2015.
Zizie faces three charges of abetting him in the matter.
Bung and Zizie were represented by lawyers M Athimulan and K Kumaraendran.-FMT