KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 4): Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah warned the prosecution in Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s trial that they would have wasted the court’s time and a “great amount” of taxpayers' money if the prosecution do not charge Zahid again after being granted a discharge of his 47 criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges on Monday.
He said this when delivering his decision where he granted Zahid a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) pending investigations from the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) after the prosecution in the case had applied for the DNAA on instruction from the Attorney General’s Chambers.
A DNAA means an accused person can face trial for the same charges in the future, if the prosecution decides to reinstate them.
In his judgment, Sequerah said that prior to this, the case had gone to trial for 77 days, where some 99 witnesses had been called. He also clarified that Zahid was ordered to enter his defence, and at the current stage of the trial, Zahid’s 15th witness was testifying on his behalf.
Sequerah then said that although the powers of the Attorney General to institute or withdraw charges is unquestioned, the prosecution would have wasted the court's time and taxpayers' money if they don’t choose to charge him again.
“Before I adjourn, I wish to place on record that although the powers of the Attorney General under article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution and Section 254 of Criminal Procedure Code to institute or withdraw charges is unquestioned, should the prosecution decide in the near future that they will not proceed with the charges, then much precious judicial time would have been wasted, and a great amount of taxpayers' money would have been wasted,” he said.
Zahid, who is Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament, had been ordered by Sequerah to enter his defence in respect of all 47 corruption charges in relation to Yayasan Akalbudi last year.
Twelve of them were for criminal breach of trust charges, followed by eight for graft, and 27 for money laundering.