Tuesday 06 Jun 2023
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 5): Former Johor Bahru Member of Parliament Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad has been given a full acquittal in his criminal trial for failing to declare RM1 million, which he received from jailed former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).

Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin granted the acquittal, after the prosecution informed the court at the onset of the trial on Thursday morning (Jan 5) that they did not intend to continue the case against the former Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) chairman.  

"The deputy public prosecutor has confirmed that the prosecution will not continue [its case] against the accused in the near future.

"Therefore, it is reasonable that the accused be discharged and acquitted," he said.

The High Court judge added that he was making the order in line with Section 254 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

DPP asked for discharge not amounting to acquittal, defence wanted full acquittal

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Rasyidah Murni Azmi mentioned that they did not intend to continue with the case against Shahrir, and asked for a discharge not amounting to acquittal, which would mean he could be charged again at a later date.

However, Shahrir's lawyers — Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad, and Datuk Syed Faisal Al-Edros Syed Abdullah Al-Edros — all objected to this, and asked for a full acquittal.

Dzulkifli said that the investigating officer (IO) in the case had testified and acknowledged in the last occasion that the charge against Shahrir was made based on insufficient evidence.

"The IO herself said that the charge was done in a hurried manner, and the then attorney general's (Tan Sri Tommy Thomas) decision at that time was baseless," he said.

It was reported that MACC investigating officer Nurzahidah Yacop said she had received an instruction from the prosecution, with permission given by Thomas in January 2020, to charge Shahrir even when the investigation papers on the case were still incomplete.

Syed Faisal added that the case was already at its tail end in the prosecution's stage, and that the matter should be put to an end.

The judge then asked what were the reasons for the prosecution's decision not to continue with the case.

The DPP gave no reasons, merely saying that they were instructed not to continue with the case.

"The instruction that we received was not to continue," she said, adding that the prosecution does not intend to continue with the charge in the near future.

Initially, Najib was set to take the stand on Thursday as a prosecution witness. The former PM was present in the court.

Shahrir was charged in early 2020, and the trial began in July last year.

He was charged with money laundering by not stating his real income in the income tax return form for assessment year 2013, which would be a violation of Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967, over the RM1 million, believed to be from unlawful activities, which he received from Najib through a cheque.

Shahrir was alleged to have committed the offence at the IRB, Duta Branch, Government Office Complex, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim on April 25, 2014.

The charge, framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, provided a maximum fine of RM5 million, or imprisonment of up to five years, or both, if found guilty.

Edited BySurin Murugiah
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