Prosecution’s star witness unwell, court postpones Shahrir Samad’s case to Dec 22

THE trial of former Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Ab Samad, who is charged with failing to declare RM1 million which he received from Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) was today postponed to Dec 22 as the prosecution’s star witness is unwell.

Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin granted the postponement after Deputy Public Prosecutor, Rasyidah Murni Azmi informed the court that the 22nd prosecution witness, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Assistant Superintendent Nurzahidah Yacop had been given a medical leave certificate (MC) by the Putrajaya Health Clinic.

“The court also set the trial to begin on Jan 5,” said the judge.

Earlier, Rasyidah Murni said Nurzahidah had applied to the court yesterday to allow her to go to the clinic for treatment, adding that the prosecution had also received the MC.

“Today has been set for the cross-examination of the witness (Nurzahidah). This witness is important for this case and the prosecution has no intention of delaying the court’s time, but this is a matter of health that should not be taken lightly by all parties.

“Therefore, we request that today’s hearing be postponed while the previously fixed dates namely Dec 22 and 23 are retained for us to call the witness and Datuk Seri Najib,” she said.

Meanwhile, Shahrir’s counsel Datuk Syed Faisal Al-Edros Syed Abdullah Al-Edros, confirmed that he had received the information yesterday through the WhatsApp application, adding that he prayed that the witness would recover quickly so that she can continue giving her testimony.

“I respect the prosecution’s request to postpone today’s trial and the defence does not take this lightly. However, we request that this case be resolved as soon as possible as my client is trying to clear his name.

“During the 15th General Election, he (Shahrir) did not contest on the grounds that it was not fair for the voters in Johor Bharu because in the minds of the people he was part of the court cluster (politicians with pending court cases on corruption),” he said and requested that the trial be set for next month.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd ‘Afif Ali then said that the prosecution had no intention to postpone and delay the proceedings, but had always cooperated fully for the sake of justice for all parties.

Shahrir, 72, was charged with money laundering, by not stating his real income in the Income Tax Return Form for Assessment Year 2013, which is a violation of Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967, on the RM1 million, believed to be from unlawful activities, which he received from Najib through a cheque.

He was charged with committing the offence at IRB, Duta Branch, Government Office Complex, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here on April 25, 2014, under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, provides a maximum fine of RM5 million, or imprisonment for up to five years, or both if found guilty. — Bernama