KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who had his graft trial adjourned for the day due to a purported meeting with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, could be cited for contempt of court after the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) denied there were any meetings with politicians on Monday (March 2).
The High Court had called for parties in the trial to convene Monday afternoon after the PMO issued a statement that the Prime Minister was only scheduled to meet the Chief Secretary and other heads of agencies, not politicians.
Zahid's lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik informed Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah that his client had gone to the PMO to meet with Muhyiddin but he had gone to Muar, Johor.
"My client met with the political secretary instead. He took down notes of the meeting. It was never our intention to mislead the court," Hisyam said.
DPP Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, however, moved that the court should cite Zahid for contempt under Order 52 Rule 2A of the Rules of High Court, on grounds that the accused had made a false statement when he claimed to have a meeting with the Prime Minister.
"That is a blatant lie in court. He had intentionally misled the court into giving him a day off," she said.
In her strongly-worded submission, DPP Raja Rozela said the prosecution had taken the words from the defence in good faith.
"And this is what we get. I urged your Lordship to use your discretion," she added.
In his reply, Hisyam said it was never their intention to mock the court.
"Perhaps wrong choice of words were used. We are here the minute your Lordship calls us," he added.
Justice Sequerah then took a look at Zahid's notebook.
DPP Raja Rozela however urged the court not to accept the notebook as evidence.
"Those notes could be done before he comes to court," she said.
The court then asked Zahid to explain and the Umno president stood up in the dock.
"My Lord, I received a letter (inviting him to PMO). Normally in a new government, political party leaders have to negotiate positions of our MPs to be appointed for the Cabinet," he said.
Zahid said he was supposed to be at the PMO at 12.30pm but he arrived at 12.45pm and did not get to meet the Prime Minister.
Justice Sequerah then asked Zahid to furnish the court with the letter when the trial resumes on Tuesday (March 3).
"I suspend my decision until tomorrow," he said.
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.