KUALA LUMPUR: Umno President Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today argued that he had not only been unnecessarily prosecuted, but was over prosecuted after being slapped with 47 charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), corruption and money laundering.
His lawyers contended that the former deputy prime minister had nothing to answer for after 53 days of trial which had seen 99 prosecution witnesses being called to testify.
The defence also raised a point of law by stating that Zahid wanted to claim immunity from prosecution under Section 30(7) of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) Act as he was the one who disclosed all information to the graft busters.
Lead defence counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik started his submission by pointing out that the charges against his client were instituted by former Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, as the latter had revealed in his book My Story: Justice in the Wilderness.
Quoting a passage from the book, the senior lawyer noted that Thomas had explained that he only charged Zahid after becoming satisfied of having a realistic chance of securing a conviction based on overwhelming evidence against the accused.
However, Hisyam argued that after having heard, seen and read all the evidence led by the prosecution during trial, it was clear that the charges against Zahid had been framed on thin ice.
“The evidence has fallen very short of the standard set in previous cases.
“There is no prima facie evidence, let alone overwhelming evidence as contended (by the prosecution),” he said.
Touching on the issue of unnecessary and over prosecution, Hisyam cited the accusation that his client had committed CBT by transferring RM17.9 million of Yayasan Akalbudi funds to a trust account under the name of Lewis & Co.
He argued that it was obviously wrong in law to say CBT had been committed when Yayasan Akalbudi, which is a charity foundation set up by Zahid, retains ownership of the money after it was banked into Lewis & Co’s client’s account.
Hisyam said based on this, a strong inference could be made that there was an oblique motive in the charges against Zahid.
“My client has been unncessarily charged not based on law or evidence.
“The right thing to do is for the prosecution to withdraw the CBT charge when there is obviously no CBT.
“It is not in public interest when someone is unnecessarily or wrongly charged. It not only eats up judicial time but is an abuse of process,” he said in his submissions at the end of the prosecution case.
Hisyam later said his client wanted to claim immunity from prosecution as he had disclosed information to the graft busters under Section 30(7) of the MACC Act, which clothed him with the immunity.
He contended that based on all the information that had been provided by Zahid to the MACC, he cannot be prosecuted and the prosecution cannot be said to have proven a prima facie case on all the charges.
Hisyam would continue with his submissions before High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah tomorrow.
Zahid, 68, is facing 47 charges, including 12 for CBT, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving RM31 million of Yayasan Akalbudi funds.
For the 12 CBT charges, Zahid was alleged to have used the funds to make payments for personal credit cards, insurance policies and license for his personal vehicles, remittances to a law firm and contributions to the Royal Malaysian police football association.
The charge, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, carries a maximum 20 years jail, whipping and fine.-NST