Zahid escapes contempt of court proceeding, apologises for miscommunication

Judge Sequerah dismissed an application by the prosecution yesterday after hearing and accepting the submission by Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

UMNO president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi escaped the contempt of court proceeding after he issued an apology for miscommunication causing the trial on Monday to be temporarily postponed.

Bernama reported that Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah dismissed an application by the prosecution to initiate contempt of court proceeding yesterday after hearing and accepting the submission by Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer, Hisyam Teh, that there was a misunderstanding in the use of the sentence when he requested for a postponement.

The court had earlier requested Ahmad Zahid to produce the letter he allegedly received from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), purportedly from the Prime Minister’s political secretary, instructing him to attend a meeting on the formation of the Cabinet with Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

However, Ahmad Zahid failed to produce the letter and told the court that there was no letter to that effect as no official appointment had been made for the post of PM’s political secretary.

“I openly apologise for the confusion and misunderstanding that arose and I had no intention at all to mislead this court. I have great respect for My Lord and I respect this noble court,” Ahmad Zahid said.

“I also wish to explain about the instruction (from the PMO). I have been in contact with the political secretary. The letter could not be issued because there has been no official appointment of the officer concerned,” he added.

Sequerah said he accepts that there may have been a miscommunication on the instructions between the accused and counsel.

“I also accept there may have been a wrong choice of words when seeking adjournment and this may have generated misunderstanding. I also take into account the sincere apology by the accused that there was a misunderstanding, and of no less importance was the undertaking by the accused’s counsel that this would not occur again…I find no case for contempt to be made out,” he ruled.

“As a general statement and warning, this court wishes to make it clear that the court will not tolerate any attempt to mislead. Should there be any hint of attempts to mislead the court or contemptous conduct, this court makes it abundantly and crystal clear that it will not hesitate to impose fine or imprisonment,” the judge said.

The hearing of the case was adjourned on Monday after Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer informed the court that the former deputy PM had to attend a meeting with the new PM.

However, at about 4pm of the same day, both parties were summoned by the court and the PMO issued a statement that there was no meeting with political leaders scheduled for that day.

Ahmad Zahid, 67, is facing 47 charges with 12 of them for criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering, involving millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

The hearing continues on Friday.