Ex-Sime Darby president acquitted

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Sime Darby Bhd president and group CEO Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubair @ Ahmad Zubir Murshid walked out a free man from the court after he was acquitted of two counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving over RM100mil.

Sessions Court judge Zulqarnain Hassan freed the 59-year-old former CEO of all the charges after Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib informed the court that they did not wish to continue with the case and lead counsel Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden asked for an acquittal order.

When met after the proceedings, DPP Ahmad Akram said the defence sent a letter of representation on July 22, 2016.

He said the Attorney-General Chambers had considered all aspects including evidence and facts, before it decide to use Section 254 of the Criminal Procedure Code to seek a discharge not amounting to acquittal.

“After the case proceeded, we felt that we would not be able to achieve a beyond a reasonable doubt standard of proof in the case against the accused,” he said.

Lead counsel Mohd Yusof, however, pursued tenaciously for an acquittal order saying that the prosecution no longer wish to continue with the case.

Ahmad Zubair was speechless after the decision was pronounced by the court but he composed himself and walked out of the dock to approach his team of counsel.

Ahmad Zubair was charged with committing CBT causing Sime Darby subsidiary Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd to make a payment of RM85mil to acquire some plots of Native Customary Right (NCR) land in Lower Julau and Sarikei.

The plots of land were later awarded to Vertical Drive Sdn Bhd instead of Sime Darby despite the payment. The offence allegedly occurred between Nov 17 and 28, 2008.

Ahmad Zubair also faced a second charge of failing to take or instruct legal action between Nov 17, 2008 and Dec 4, 2009 to rectify the awarding of NCR land in Kapit and Julau to a trading company named Nature Ambience Sdn Bhd, despite Sime Darby having paid RM16.8mil for them.

Ahmad Zubair also claimed trial to two alternative charges under Section 418 of the Penal Code when he was first brought to the court on July 17, 2012.

He was charged with failing to inform the Sime Darby board of directors on Nov 28, 2008 and Dec 4, 2009 that the NCR land in Sarikei, Julau and Kapit had been awarded to Vertical Drive and Nature Ambience.

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