Ahmad Zahid accused of contempt of court for trial blunder

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by BERNAMA

THE prosecution team has accused Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (picture) for contempt of court when he sought for his graft trial to be postponed yesterday.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court granted the defence’s application to defer the trial for Ahmad Zahid to be in the Cabinet formation meeting.

The prosecutor claimed Ahmad Zahid gave a false statement and misled the court to get a day off the court.

“It is unacceptable. We have been made to look like fools. We took their word in good faith and this is what we get,” deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said.

“There was no meeting. It’s a blatant lie.” Ahmad Zahid reportedly requested for his trial to be postponed as he would meet the prime minister (PM) to discuss the new government’s Cabinet line-up.

However, a statement from the PM’s Office (PMO) in the afternoon stated that the newly appointed PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin did not have any political discussion or meeting with political leaders in his schedule.

According to the PMO, Muhyiddin was scheduled to meet the chief secretary and head of departments and agencies to coordinate the administration of the government.

Subsequently, Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah summoned the parties involved at 4pm to provide an explanation about the matter.

Defence lawyers reportedly said Ahmad Zahid went to Putrajaya to meet the PM, but he failed because the latter was not free and had to rush to Muar, Johor.

Besides, Ahmad Zahid claimed he had received a letter from the PMO informing him to come at 12:30pm yesterday.

As it was, Muhyiddin visited his parents’ graves in Muar yesterday, among his scheduled activities on the first day as the PM.

Defence counsel Hisyam Teh said Ahmad Zahid will produce a letter to the PMO today to substantiate the claim that he was invited for a meeting with the PM.

The judge said he will decide after receiving the PMO letter.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 criminal charges including 12 counts of criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving RM31 million funds of Yayasan Akalbudi, chaired by the accused.

On the corruption charges, the accused — as a public body officer being the then-home affairs minister — had allegedly received RM17 million as a reward for the award of three distinct contracts to several companies.

The prosecutor said the money laundering charges will be proven by showing the accused had allegedly received approximately RM65 million worth of cheques from individuals known or unknown to him.