Zahid let off with warning, court says no case for contempt over graft trial postponement


KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was let off the hook with a warning for the “miscommunication” which led to his graft trial to be postponed by the High Court on Monday (March 2).

After accepting the Bagan Datuk MP’s apology, Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah said he did not find a case for contempt to be made out.

The judge, however, gave a warning that he would not tolerate any attempt to mislead the court.

“After hearing the learned counsel for the accused and considering the submissions from the learned public prosecutor, I accept there may have been a miscommunication given between the instructions between the accused and counsel.

“I also accept there may have been a wrong choice of words when seeking adjournment and this may have generated misunderstanding. I also take into account the sincere apology by the accused that there was a misunderstanding,” he said here on Tuesday (March 3).

Justice Sequerah said should there be any attempts to mislead the court or contemptuous conduct, he would not hesitate to impose fine or imprisonment.

Earlier, Zahid apologised to the court after failing to produce a letter he claimed to have received relating to his purported meeting with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to discuss a new Cabinet line-up.

“I openly apologise for this confusion and misunderstanding. I do not have the intention to mislead the court. I respect Your Honour and this honourable court.

“I would also like to explain about the letter. I have contacted the political secretary. He could not issue the letter because he is not officially appointed yet,” said Zahid from the dock.

This drew the ire of DPP Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, who said Zahid’s excuse showed that he was making up stories about having the letter.

“He said it on record yesterday that the letter was sent to him. But now he is saying it could not be issued,” she said.

On Monday morning, Zahid’s graft trial was adjourned for the day as the Umno president said he had to attend a meeting with the Prime Minister for Cabinet talks.

The PMO, however, issued a statement denying any meetings with politicians.

The contradiction caused the court to recall all parties involved urgently at 4pm, where the prosecution moved the court to cite Zahid for contempt.

Zahid is facing 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit in funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

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