by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA
The High Court here today acquitted and discharged PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli (picture) after overturning his conviction for charges under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) last year.
Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa allowed the former Pandan MP’s appeal against his conviction and the 30-month jail sentence that followed after he was found guilty for exposing confidential banking details under BAFIA seven years ago.
Also discharged and acquitted from the same charge was bank clerk, Johari Mohamad.
On Feb 7, 2018, the Shah Alam Sessions Court found Mohd Rafizi, 42, guilty of disclosing documents comprising balance summaries relating to NFC, National Meat & Livestock Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd and NFC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail bank accounts to media consultant Yusof Abdul Alim and The Star reporter, Erle Martin Carvalho.
Mohd Rafizi allegedly committed the offence at PKR Headquarters in Merchant Square, Petaling Jaya, on March 7, 2012 and was charged under Section 97 (1) of BAFIA.
Johari, 48, was also charged under Section 112 (1) (c) of BAFIA for conspiring with Mohd Rafizi on the same date and address.
Mohd Yazid, in his ruling, said exhibit P4 and attachments A to D were photostated documents that failed to meet requirements under Section 65(1)(c) of the Evidence Act 1950, and therefore inadmissible.
“The prosecution should have called a witness to testify that a sufficient search for the original document of P4 was carried out. Moreover, the witness should offer an explanation as to how the original document of P4 was lost or could not be found.
“The prosecution had called a bank officer to testify, however the witness’ evidence failed to fulfil the above requirement in order for P4 to be admitted. Without this evidence, these documents, P4 and attachments A to D are not admissible under section 65(1)(c) of the Evidence Act 1950.
“Based on the above reasons, I hereby allow the appeal of the first appellant (Rafizi) and set aside the conviction and sentence of 30 months imprisonment imposed by the learned Session Court Judge. I hereby order an acquittal and discharge of the first appellant,” Mohd Yazid said.
On Johari’s appeal decision, Mohd Yazid said the Sessions Court had failed to factor in the testimony of the 19th witness, the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) investigating officer who had agreed that Johari had never contacted, met or handed over the said documents to Mohd Rafizi.
“The prosecution case against Johari had also collapsed by reason of evidence of the investigation officer from BNM who agreed that the initial investigation showed the main suspect was the Assistant Manager of the Public Bank in Jinjang who had access to the said account.
“This material evidence was not considered at all by the learned Session Court Judge in his judgement.
“Based on the above reasons, it is obvious that the prosecution has failed to prove that Johari had intended or had knowledge that Rafizi had revealed the contents of the said documents in order to commit the offence as per the charge, and as such the conviction and sentence of Johari is hereby set aside,” he ruled.
“I hereby allow the appeal as there is no prima facie case against Johari and set aside the conviction and sentence of 30 months imprisonment. I hereby acquit and discharge Johari,” Mohd Yazid said.
Earlier, during proceedings, Mohd Yazid reprimanded Mohd Rafizi’s supporters seated at the public gallery who had clapped as soon as he had read his ruling. “You can’t clap here, this is not a place to clap hands,” he said.