Bung Moktar, wife granted another stay from entering defence on corruption charges

KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court here today once again ruled in favour of Kinabatangan Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and his wife Datin Seri Zizie Izette Abdul Samad over the couple’s applications to stay their defence trial on corruption charges amounting to RM2.8 million involving  a RM150 million investment in Public Mutual Berhad unit trust.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid allowed the applications by the couple after their lawyer, M. Athimulan, informed the court that both his clients applied to stay the hearing of the defence case, pending the disposal of their appeal at the Court of Appeal.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Sophian Zakaria did not object to it.

Prior to this, the court had set today for the first day hearing of the defence trial before Sessions Court Judge Rozina Ayob.

This is the second success by Bung Moktar and Zizie Izette in getting the court to  postpone their defence trial.

The first was last Sept 23 by High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

Bung Moktar, 65, and Zizie Izette, 45, had appealed against Azhar’s decision made last Dec 9  which rejected the couple’s application to review the decision of the Sessions Court which ordered them to enter their defence on three corruption charges.

Azhar dismissed the couple’s applications following a preliminary objection by the prosecution.

In a notice of motion filed last Dec 22, Bung Moktar and Zizie Izette stated that there were special circumstances which justified the stay of their trial, and that their appeal contained issues of law which would “most probably” be allowed by the Court of Appeal.

The couple also stated that if their stay applications were not allowed, it would cause injustice to them and would render their appeal at the Court of Appeal to become academic.

Meanwhile, in the Sessions Court, Athimulan informed Judge Rozina about the High Court’s decision and that management of the appeal case had been set for  Jan 25.

Judge Rozina then reminded all parties to take positive steps to ensure the case could progress at a quicker pace, saying that the case had been pending since 2019 without a conclusion.

“I’m sure the accused are also anxious to know the outcome of the case. Regardless, the court postponed the defence proceeding today and the trial dates from 9 to 13 January have been vacated,” she said and set Jan 27 for mention.

On Sept 2 last year,  Rozina ordered the couple to enter their defence on three corruption charges after finding that the prosecution had succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against them.

On May 3, 2019, Bung Moktar, 64, pleaded not guilty to two charges of accepting bribes amounting to RM2.2 million and RM262,500 as an inducement to obtain Felcra’s approval to invest RM150 million in Public Mutual unit trusts.

He was alleged to have accepted the bribes from Public Mutual Berhad’s investment agent Madhi Abdul Hamid through Zizie Izette at Public Bank’s Taman Melawati branch here between 12.30 pm and 5 pm on June 12, 2015.

Bung Moktar was also charged with receiving a cash bribe of RM337,500 from Unit Amanah consultant, Norhaili Ahmad Mokhtar under the name of Zizie Izette for the same reason and at the same place on June 19,  2015, while Zizie Izette is facing three charges of abetting her husband in relation to the matter at the same place, date and time. – Bernama