Court of Appeal dismisses Zahid's bid to consolidate CBT charges

PUTRAJAYA (June 23): The Court of Appeal has dismissed former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's application to consolidate his 12 criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges to just three charges in his trial for misappropriation of funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

The three man bench led by Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Yaacob Md Sam had quashed Zahid’s appeal and upheld the decision made by High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

“We are of the view that there is no appealable error in the High Court’s decision for joint charges not to be made into three charges. We therefore dismiss the appeal,” he said today after Zahid’s counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik and Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairy had put forth their oral submissions.

Hisyam argued that the 12 charges are excessive and three charges would suffice to encompass everything his client was being accused of.

“What can be done in three charges, must be done in three, not twelve,” he told the bench.

He also said that there was prejudice and unfairness practiced by the prosecution against his client.

Sazilee countered by saying that fairness should be in the eyes of the law and not in the eyes of the appellant.

“This will not prejudice the case or the accused, every charge must be proven before the court,” Sazilee said.

Earlier, the prosecution made a preliminary objection to the appeal, as Sazilee said the decision by Sequerah was not considered a final decision as it was given prior to the start of Zahid's trial and therefore should not be appellable. Hisyam argued otherwise.

The judges, however, dismissed the prosecution's objection and allowed the lawyer to proceed with his oral submission.

In November last year, Sequerah had made the decision after finding that the present 12 charges against Ahmad Zahid are clear and the accused could understand them for preparing his defence, thus not raising any issue of prejudice.

“Moreover, Section 153 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) does not make it mandatory for the prosecution to combine the charges,” he said, prompting the defence to submit their appeal at the Court of Appeal in an attempt to overturn Collin’s decision.

Zahid is facing a total of 47 charges - 12 for CBT, eight for corruption and 27 money laundering — involving Yayasan Akalbudi, a charitable foundation he set up.

The amount that he is charged for CBT is RM31.06 million, graft of RM21.25 million and money-laundering of RM72 million.

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