Crime & Courts

Court of Appeal grants prosecution to reinstate 4 power abuse charges against Muhyiddin

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal (CoA) today allowed the prosecution's appeal to reinstate four abuse of power charges made against former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin linked to the Jana Wibawa programme during his tenure.

Justice Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, who led a three member panel in a unanimous decision, ruled so when granting the prosecution's application to set aside a High Court's decision to acquit and release the 76-year-old in August last year.

She said that the learned high court judge had erred in law when he ruled that the four charges did not disclose any offence known to law.

"On the issue raised by the appellant (prosecution) that the charges are not defective, we accept their submission.

"In our view, the four charges are clear and unambiguous.

"As such, there is no necessity on the prosecution to set out the manner or give further particular as to how the offence was committed.

"Therefore, we allow the appeal to set aside the high court order.

"The case is remitted to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for the next course of action," she said.

Also on the panel were Justices Datuk Azmi Ariffin and Datuk S.M Komathy Suppiah.

Justice Hadhariah also said the appellant (prosecution) had contended that political society came within the definition of associate under Section 3 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act.

She said it was further argued by the appellant that the society fell within the definition of organisation under Section 3 of the same Act.

"We agree with this submission. We find no merit in the respondent's submission that because the word society is not mentioned in Section 3, therefore a society cannot come within the definition of associate.

"In our view, the ordinary meaning of organisation is a group formed for a particular purpose. As a society is also a group formed for a particular purpose, it would fall within the definition of organisation.

"It follows that Bersatu, a political society, comes within the definition of associate as defined under Section 3," she said.

The prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutors Datuk Dusuki Mokhtar, Ahmad Akram Gharib and Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, while the defence team was led by counsel Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik.

March 4 has been set for case management at the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur.

On March 10 last year, Muhyiddin was charged with four counts of using his then prime minister and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president positions to obtain bribes amounting to RM232.5 million from three companies namely Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd, Nepturis Sdn Bhd and Mamfor Sdn Bhd as well as Datuk Azman Yusoff for the party.

He had committed the offences at the prime minister's office, Bangunan Perdana Putra, Federal Government Administration Centre in Putrajaya between March 1, 2020 and Aug 20, 2021.

On April 18, Muhyiddin,who is also Perikatan Nasional chairman, had in April last year, filed an application to quash the four charges under Section 23 (1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act.

On Aug 15 , High Court judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin struck out the case linked to Jana Wibawa programme, ruling that all the four charges were defective and in bad faith.

The judgment was made on two grounds – lack of details in the charges and the accused was charged on offences unknown to the law.

The Attorney-General's Chambers (A-GC) confirmed that the prosecution had filed an appeal against the decision of the High Court and subsequently listed 13 reasons why the CoA should reinstate the charges.

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