KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi escaped from being cited for contempt by the High Court after he apologised for a “miscommunication” that led to the postponement of his graft trial on Monday.
In his ruling, Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah said he found no case for contempt to be made out of the situation.
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 yesterday.
Should there be any attempts to mislead the court or contemptuous conduct, the judge said he would not hesitate to impose a fine or imprisonment.
Zahid had earlier apologised to the court for failing to produce a letter he claimed to have received relating to his purported meeting with the Prime Minister 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 Prime Minister’s Office, however, issued a statement denying any meeting with politicians and thus contradicting Zahid’s reasoning to the court.
It caused the court to recall all parties to urgently convene at 4pm where the prosecution moved the court to cite Zahid for contempt under Order 52 Rule 2A of the Rules of High Court on grounds that Zahid had made a false statement.
The trial resumed with bank manager Leong Siew Kong verifying that 129 cheques for over RM99mil went into the account of Yayasan Akalbudi’s trustee, Messrs Lewis & Co.
Zahid is facing 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit in funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
The hearing continues on Friday.
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