Charges against Muhyiddin clear, unambiguous, says appeals court

PUTRAJAYA: The four abuse of power charges in connection with the Jana Wibawa project against former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin are clear and not ambiguous, says the Court of Appeal in its written rationale released last week.

Justice Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail said the charges had listed all the necessary ingredients to establish an offence under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) 2009.

"In our opinion, the particulars contained in each of the four charges were sufficient to give Muhyiddin notice of the matter with which he was charged,” she said in her 32-page grounds of decision, posted on the judiciary’s website on April 16.

She said Muhyiddin was not misled in any manner whatsoever merely because of the lack of particulars and deemed it unnecessary for the prosecution to provide further particulars regarding the commission of the offence.

On Feb 28, the three-member Court of Appeal bench led by Justice Hadhariah, alongside Datuk Azmi Ariffin and Datuk SM Komathy Suppiah, allowed the prosecution's appeal and reinstated the charges that the High Court had previously struck out.

Justice Hadhariah said the High Court judge had erred in holding that the charges were unclear and that Muhyiddin was misled.

She said the charges stated all four ingredients for an offence under Section 23 (1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act.

She then added that Muhyiddin was charged as prime minister and president of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), satisfying the first ingredient of the offence that he is a "public officer”.

The second element of the offence was also articulated in the charges, alleging that Muhyiddin had used his position, she noted.

As for the third and fourth ingredients of the offence, she said the charges preferred against Muhyiddin had included the word gratification and that the gratification was for his associate, namely PPBM.

Muhyiddin, then 76 years old and serving as Prime Minister and president of PPBM, faced charges of leveraging his position to solicit bribes totalling RM232.5mil from three companies: Equity Sdn Bhd, Nepturis Sdn Bhd, and Mamfor Sdn Bhd-as well as from Datuk Azman Yusoff on behalf of the party.

He is accused of allegedly committing the offence at the Prime Minister's Office, Bangunan Perdana Putra, Federal Government Administration Centre in Putrajaya between March 1, 2020 and Aug 20, 2021.

Muhyiddin also faces two charges of receiving illegal proceeds amounting to RM195mil from Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd, deposited into Bersatu's CIMB bank account.

He allegedly committed the act at CIMB Menara KL Branch, Jalan Stesen Sentral, between Feb 25 and July 16, 2021, and between Feb 8 and July 8, 2022.

Muhyiddin’s application to obtain leave to commence a judicial review of the Feb 28 Court of Appeal’s decision to reinstate the charges against him will be heard by a five-member panel of the Court of Appeal on July 9. – Bernama

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