KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 3): Kinabatangan Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and his wife Datin Seri Zizie Izette Abdul Samad have been granted another stay from entering their defence in their ongoing graft trial.
This comes after judicial commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid on Tuesday (Jan 3) allowed the duo's stay application, pending the disposal of the couple's appeal in their bid to challenge the Sessions Court's decision for them to enter their defence in their corruption trial.
The prosecution did not object to the duo's stay application.
On Dec 9, Azhar dismissed the duo's application for a revision of Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob decision on Sept 2 ordering the duo to enter their defence. She found that the prosecution in the couple's corruption case had established a prima facie case involving RM2.8 million related to a Felcra Bhd investment.
The couple are appealing against this decision, and the matter has been set for case management on Jan 25.
In their stay application filed on Dec 22, the duo, among others, stated that there were special circumstances which justified the stay of their trial, and that their appeal contained issues of law which would "most probably" be allowed by the Court of Appeal.
The trial was set to resume on Tuesday with the defence stage of the case.
Counsel M Athimulan represented Bung Moktar, while Datuk K Kumaraendran represented Zizie.
Deputy public prosecutors Mohd Sophian Zakaria, Law Chin How and Mohamad Fadhly Mohd Zamry appeared for the prosecution.
In late September, the couple were also granted a stay from entering their defence for their revision application to be heard in the High Court.
There was also a brief mention on Tuesday before Rozina to update the Sessions Court of the development.
While noting the High Court's decision, the judge reminded all parties that the case has been pending since 2019 without a conclusion, and urged the parties to take more positive steps, so that the case can progress at a quicker pace.
She said that it is up to either party to put in a certificate of urgency, along with the application in the Court of Appeal, so that the case can move along more expeditiously.
"It is for either party to put a certificate of urgency. This matter has been dragging on since 2019. It is still hanging without a conclusion.
"I'm sure the accused person would also want to know [how the matter ends]," she said.
She then set Jan 27 for the next mention date.
According to the first charge, Bung Moktar, who was then the non-executive chairman of Felcra, accepted bribes of RM2.2 million in cash from Public Mutual investment agent Madhi Abdul Hamid through Zizie.
For the second charge, he is accused of accepting bribes of RM262,500 in cash from Madhi for a similar purpose.
He is also accused of accepting a bribe of RM337,500 in cash from Public Mutual investment agent Norhaili Ahmad Mokhtar.
All the offences were said to take place in June 2015. Meanwhile, Zizie faces three abetment charges.