Ahmad Zahid's immunity claim is absurd, says prosecutor

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is not entitled to immunity as claimed by his defence in his corruption trial, the High Court heard.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said the defence had given a literal interpretation to Section 30(7) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 to give all persons who disclose information to the MACC exemption from prosecution regardless of the outcome of the investigation.

"That is really an absurd interpretation," she told the court during submissions here on Wednesday (Sept 22).

The prosecutor was making her rebuttal on the point of law raised by Ahmad Zahid's lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik who had submitted to the court that his client should have been immune from prosecution for truthfully disclosing all information pertaining to the transactions involving Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB).

In his submissions, Hisyam said Ahmad Zahid – who is Bagan Datuk MP and Umno president – had made two statements on July 2, 2018 (marked as D35) and on July 3, 2018 (marked as D36) pursuant to Section 30(3)(b) of the MACC Act.

Hisyam contended that his client had, through the two statements, disclosed information and therefore under Section 30(7), Ahmad Zahid was "clothed with immunity" from prosecution.

Under Section 30(7), it is stated that any person who discloses any information to the MACC should not be prosecuted unless he made a false or misleading statement.

According to DPP Raja Rozela, Section 30(7) is not a provision that provides for immunity but rather, it gives discretion for the public prosecutor to exempt a person who has assisted in investigations from being prosecuted.

"The exemption from prosecution will not be given if the outcome of the investigation reveals that the person has committed an offence under this Act.

"Therefore, the accused is not entitled to such a claim simply by virtue of having provided information to the MACC through D35 and D36," she said.

DPP Raja Rozela said the defence was under the "mistaken belief" that the prosecution's case was tried solely on the D35 and D36 statements.

"On the contrary, the prosecution relied on the evidence of 99 witnesses, the majority of whom were civilians who had their statements recorded by the MACC.

"Neither the public prosecutor nor MACC did anything to encourage the accused to believe that he would be given immunity," she said.

The prosecution also contended that the accused's claim could not be heard by the High Court presiding over his case as the court did not have the jurisdiction to strike out the charges on a claim of immunity.

Ahmad Zahid is on trial for a total of 47 charges, 12 of which are for criminal breach of trust, eight for bribery and 27 for money laundering involving millions of ringgit belonging to YAB.

The submission before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Oct 4.

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