Muhyiddin’s acquittal overturned

PUTRAJAYA: It’s back to trial for former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. The Court of Appeal has overturned his acquittal over using his position for bribes amounting to RM232.5mil for Bersatu and ordered that the charges be reinstated.

A panel of three judges chaired by Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail made the unanimous decision after allowing the prosecution’s appeal to set aside the High Court’s decision to acquit the Bersatu president of the four charges on Aug 15 last year.

The appellate court ordered that the case be sent back to the Sessions Court for further action.

Sitting with Justice Hadhariah were Justices Azmi Ariffin and SM Komathy Suppiah.

On Aug 15 last year, High Court judge Justice Muhammad Jamil Hussin acquitted and discharged Muhyiddin on four counts of abuse of power, involving RM232.5mil, in connection with the Jana Wibawa project.

The prosecution filed an appeal on the same day with the Court of Appeal.

Justice Hadhariah further said that the appellant had contended that the political society comes within the definition of associate under Section 3 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, Bernama reported.

“It is further argued by the appellant that the society falls within the definition of organisation under Section 3 of the same Act. We agree with this submission.

“We find no merit in the respondent’s (Muhyiddin) submission that because the society is not mentioned in Section 3, therefore a society cannot come within the definition of associate,” she said.

She added that in their view, the ordinary meaning of an organisation is a group formed for a particular purpose.

“As a society is also a group formed for a particular purpose, it would fall within the definition of organisation,” she said.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin then informed the court that the Sessions Court had set March 4 for mention for the prosecution to inform the court on the development of its appeal.

On Feb 15, Sessions court judge Azura Alwi granted the prosecution’s application for a stay of proceedings of Muhyiddin’s money laundering case pending its appeal over the striking out of the abuse of power charges against the former prime minister.

Also present at yesterday’s proceedings were deputy public prosecutors Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar and Ahmad Akram Gharib, as well as Muhyiddin’s lawyers Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, Amer Hamzah Arshad, Rosli Dahlan and Chetan Jethwani.

Muhyiddin, 76, was charged with using his position as the then prime minister and Bersatu president to obtain bribes amounting to RM232.5mil from three companies, namely Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd, Nepturis Sdn Bhd and Mamfor Sdn Bhd, and also from one Datuk Azman Yusoff, for the party.

He was charged with committing the offences at the Prime Minister’s Office, Bangunan Perdana Putra, Federal Government Administration Centre in Putrajaya between March 1, 2020, and Aug 20, 2021.

In addition to the four charges, Muhyiddin was also charged with two counts of receiving proceeds from unlawful activities amounting to RM195mil from Bukhary Equity which was deposited into Bersatu’s CIMB Bank account.

The offences were allegedly committed at CIMB Bank Menara KL Branch, Jalan Stesen Sentral, here, between Feb 25 and July 16, 2021, and between Feb 8 and July 8, 2022.

Muhyiddin was also charged at the Shah Alam Sessions Court on March 13 last year with receiving money from illegal activities amounting to RM5mil, and the case was transferred to the Sessions Court here for a joint trial.

Meanwhile, Hisyam when met by reporters said he accepted yesterday’s decision and will consider filing an appeal with the Federal Court against the decision.

“If we want to file an appeal, it has to be done within 14 days. We will be at the Sessions Court on March 4 for follow-up action,” he said.

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