Court allows Ahmad Zahid’s application to remove opinionated, conclusive statements from witness testimony

by BERNAMA / pic by ARIF KARTONO

THE High Court today here today allowed an application by Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (picture), who is facing charges for corruption, abuse of power and money laundering, to remove statements that are opinionated and conclusive in the written testimony by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Fairul Rafiq Hamiruddin, who is one of the prosecution witnesses

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah made the decision after finding that paragraphs 26, 27, 29, 33, 34, 35, 36 and 37 in Fairul Rafiq’s witness statement to be prejudicial against Ahmad Zahid.

“The court also agreed that any thing that is in the form of opinion and conclusion  from the statements of the investigating officer should be removed in its entirety.

“This ruling also applies to all witness statements of other investigating officers,” he said after hearing submissions by both parties.

Earlier, lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, representing  Ahmad Zahid, submitted that the written testimony by the MACC investigating officer directly stated that Ahmad Zahid had accepted or committed corruption, when it is the court that could determine whether an offence had been committed.

“In paragraph 37, Fairul Rafiq’s testimony stated that ‘therefore, I hereby state that the accused, as the Home Minister who approved the appointment of Profound Radiance as Operator of OSC Nepal and Pakistan has received bribes from Azlan Shah’.

“So this evidence needs to be removed from the witness statement. Even Azlan Shah Jafril (38th prosecution witness) in his testimony stated that there was no element of corruption in his gift as ‘charity’ was clearly written on his cheque butt.

“This evidence is categorised as ‘opinion’ because there is no evidence before this court regarding this gift as corruption…such an evidence is inadmissible,” he added.

Deputy public prosecutor Gan Peng Kun, in his submission, said that the witness statement by Fairul Rafiq was not opinionated, but based on investigation and evidence.

“The investigating officer has the right to submit evidence and it is up to the court to decide the reliability of the investigation,” he added.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said the evidence presented by the investigating officer could not be taken as an opinion because it was based on evidence gathered during the investigation.

“He is trying to connect the dots as a result of his investigation. He comes to court and inform the court on the evidence he found and it is for the court to assess. But this does not make it (the statement) inadmissible,” she added.

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