Hostile witness compromised prosecution's case against Zahid Hamidi, court hears

KUALA LUMPUR: Three out of 47 charges should collapse after prosecution's star witness turned hostile witness gave contradicting testimonies, the High Court heard.

Lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who represented the Umno president, shone the spotlight on the 36th prosecution witness (SP36), Junaith Asharab Md Shariff`, whose testimonies were crucial to three out of the 47 charges faced by the accused.

"If the court rejects the witness' evidence altogether, all the three charges – charges 11, 12 and 13 – collapse as they are anchored on the evidence of SP36 (Junaith)," he told the judge here on Wednesday (Sept 15).

Hisyam was submitting to the court in respect of the 11th, 12th and 13th charges faced by Ahmad Zahid at the end of the prosecution's case.

The Bagan Datuk MP faced 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

According to Hisyam, SP36 had contradicted himself during cross-examination.

"On one hand, in his written statement, he said the accused promised to give him MyEG projects after the 14th General Election and the accused asked him to submit his proposals.

"When being cross-examined, SP36 maintained what he said in his written statement on these aspects were not true.

"There is thus a serious conflict of evidence," Hisyam said.

The lawyer said this had compromised the credibility of the witness.

"The benefit of the doubt must tilt in favour of the defence," he added.

The prosecution consequently applied for their own witness to be treated as a hostile witness, but Hisyam called the court to accept two aspects from SP36's evidence which he said "remain credible".

The two aspects are SP36's testimony that RM250,000 (a sum mentioned in Charge 11) was a loan to the accused's younger brother, Datuk Seri Mohamad Nasaee Ahmad Tarmizi, and that a sum of RM13mil (mentioned in Charges 12 and 13) was SP36's donation to the construction of a mosque and tahfiz in Bagan Datuk.

Hisyam said the two aspects were testified by SP36 in examination-in-chief and reiterated in cross-examination.

The lawyer submitted that there were two ways for the court to treat the evidence of a hostile witness; the court could reject the whole evidence or accept parts of the evidence that could be corroborated upon.

The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Monday (Sept 20).

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