UALA LUMPUR: Almost two years after being charged with criminal breach of trust involving RM888,000, Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab Beg and former Pempena Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Mohammad Rosly Md Selamat were acquitted by the Sessions Court yesterday.
“Alhamdulillah (Praise to Allah)” was Mirza’s immediate response when he was swarmed by reporters after judge Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh delivered his judgment.
“We have trust in the country’s judicial system,” Rosly said.
The courtroom was packed with family members and friends of Mirza and Rosly. They hugged and congratulated the two when the court stood down.
A family member also led a doa recitation as soon as Mirza and Rosly walked out of the courtroom.
Yesterday was the second time Mirza was acquitted of criminal charges without his defence being called. On July 24, 2009, the Sessions Court had acquitted him of a charge of accepting dental treatment worth RM13,860 without consideration.
Asked whether he would be back to work soon, Mirza, who was suspended, said: "I'll have to wait for the disciplinary board to resume."
Mirza, a father of three, has had the privilege of serving under six tourism ministers, from Tan Sri Sabaruddin Chik to Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen and has been in the civil service for 30 years.
Judge Zulkifly, in his brief judgment, said in order to prove the case, the prosecution needed to establish that the approval by the accused for payment made to LCL Interior had violated the law or contract.
He said, in the present case, both the accused did not breach any contract.
The judge said, based on the evidence, there were only two remittance acknowledgements which were signed by the two accused on Jan 26, 2007.
"The date on the charge is vague," he said, adding that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against the two.
Mirza, 55, and Rosly, 56, were jointly charged with committing the offence at Pempena's office in Menara Dato Onn, Putra World Trade Centre, on Feb 27, 2007.
They were alleged to have approved the monies as payment to LCL Interior LCL Dubai's account at Mashreq Bank in Dubai for the purpose of setting up a Malaysian restaurant there, when terms for the project were allegedly not fulfilled.
The prosecution had called 13 witnesses.
Deputy public prosecutor Azlina Rasdi prosecuted while Mirza was represented by counsel Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman and Datuk Saseedharan Menon.