Zahid seeks stay of graft trial pending bid to obtain recorded statements

KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has applied to stay the proceedings in his graft trial at the High Court.

This was made pending the outcome of an appeal in his application to obtain recorded statements of witnesses from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in his corruption case involving Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) funds.

At the start of the hearing here on Monday (June 27), his lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh informed Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah that the defence had filed the stay application on June 23 as well as a notice of urgency for the matter to be expedited.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Abd Malik Ayub told the court that the prosecution had received a copy of the application via email last week and they intend to oppose it.

"We need time to reply to the affidavit,"said Abd Malik.

Justice Sequerah then instructed the prosecution to file its affidavit-in-reply on July 4 and fixed July 7 for the hearing of the stay application.

In his supporting affidavit, sighted by The Star, Ahmad Zahid said the recorded statements of the witnesses would show there was corroboration between his own statements and that of the witnesses.

Among the witnesses that he sought for the recorded statements were his brother Datuk Seri Mohamad Nasaee Ahmad Tarmizi, his daughter Datuk Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid and businessman Datuk Seri Khalid Mohamad Jiwa.

"Without the recorded statements of the witnesses, my right to get a fair trial would be jeopardised.

"I would want to give a complete defense in my examination-in-chief before I am cross-examined," he said in the affidavit.

Ahmad Zahid further stated that the stay application was not to delay his defence trial as he had already begun his testimony in an examination-in-chief.

On May 9, Justice Sequerah dismissed Ahmad Zahid's application to obtain the statements of the witnesses.

The dismissal was on the grounds that the statements were made in the belief and expectation that it would remain confidential and any disclosure would prejudice and compromise public interest.

"They (the witnesses) can be subject to intimidation and, for example, be coerced to depart from what is in the statements," Justice Sequerah had said.

Ahmad Zahid's defence had made the application to obtain the statements of the witnesses on Feb 18 pursuant to Section 51 of the Criminal Procedure Code after he was called to enter his defence on Jan 24.

The Bagan Datuk MP 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 belonging to YAB.

Ahmad Zahid's hearing continues this afternoon before Justice Sequerah with Ahmad Zahid on the stand reading his witness statement.

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