In a surprising turn of events, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi may see all 47 of his graft charges potentially dropped, thanks to the prosecution’s recent application for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal. This unexpected development comes after the Attorney General’s Chambers reviewed a representation letter from Zahid’s legal team, leading them to seek a reevaluation of the charges.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar, representing the AG-C, initiated the request for the charges against Zahid to be dismissed as the court session commenced today. In response, Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah temporarily halted the proceedings.
Zahid’s defense has hinged on the presentation of new evidence related to the alleged misappropriation of RM31 million from his foundation, Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB). Earlier this year, Zahid submitted a comprehensive 200-page representation letter to the AG-C in a bid to have the charges dropped.
In January of the previous year, Zahid, aged 68, was ordered to stand trial against all 47 corruption charges associated with the charitable foundation he established. These charges include 12 counts of Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT), eight bribery allegations, and 27 counts of money laundering, all involving substantial sums from YAB.
The CBT charges allege that Zahid used the funds for various personal expenses, including credit card payments, insurance premiums, vehicle licenses, law firm payments, and contributions to the Royal Malaysia Police Football Association. These transactions were purportedly conducted at the Affin Bank Bhd branch on Jalan Bunus, off Jalan Masjid India, between January 13, 2014, and December 23, 2016. If convicted under Section 409 of the Penal Code, Zahid could face imprisonment for a period ranging from two to 20 years, along with whipping and fines.
Additionally, Zahid faces eight bribery charges related to alleged inducements from three companies: Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, Data Sonic Group Bhd, and Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd. These inducements supposedly aimed to secure MyEG projects, passport chip supply contracts, and operator appointments for migrant visa one-stop centers in Pakistan and Nepal during his tenure as home minister. The alleged bribery transactions occurred at the Maybank branch at Dataran Maybank on Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, between July 15, 2016, and March 15, 2018, and are framed under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.
Furthermore, Zahid is confronted with 27 money laundering charges, stemming from direct transactions involving income generated from illegal activities between March 29, 2016, and April 11, 2018. These alleged offenses transpired at the Malayan Banking Bhd Dataran Maybank branch on Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, and Marhaba Enterprise Sdn Bhd on Jalan Bukit Bintang. If found guilty, the charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, whipping, and fines.
The prosecution’s move to seek a discharge not amounting to an acquittal has added an unforeseen twist to Zahid’s legal battle, leaving the future uncertain for the Deputy Prime Minister, who is entangled in a web of serious corruption charges.