Crime & Courts

Order for Bung Moktar, wife to answer graft charges contrary to court evidence - High Court judge

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court ruled that the Sessions Court's decision to order Kinabatangan Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and his wife Datin Seri Zizie Izette Abdul Samad to enter their defence on three corruption charges was contrary to the evidence in court that there were no requests of bribery.

Judge Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid in his judgment dated April 20 said two prosecution star witnesses namely the 24th prosecution witness (PW24), Public Mutual Berhad's investment agent Madhi Abdul Hamid and PW25 Unit Amanah consultant, Norhaili Ahmad Mokhtar clearly stated in their oral evidence in court that no element of gratification exist in the case.

"PW24 when cross-examination by the prosecution denied that the RM2.8 million paid to the second accused (Zizie Izette) at Public Bank Taman Melawati was meant for the first accused (Bung Moktar).

"PW25 also confirmed that no element of gratification nor request for such, existed in this case as there was no such request from either accused. She also confirmed that the money (RM2.8 million) paid to the second accused was an introduction fee," the judge said.

Judge Azhar further said, in the face of these evidence, the Sessions Court judge elected to accept former statements of these two witnesses which were given to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) during the course of investigation.

"The Sessions Court judge made a determination that the oral evidence of these two witnesses do not give effect to the charges against both the accused," he added.

The judge also said the court was of the opinion that the basis of the Sessions Court judge finding a prime facie case having made out was clearly incorrect and perverse, and causes great injustice to both the accused.

According to the judge, the court of the view that this was a fit and proper case for this court to exercise its revisionary power.

"Both the applications are therefore allowed and the Sessions Court judgement was set aside and substituted with an order of acquittal and discharge without calling for them to enter their defence," he said.

Bung Moktar and Zizie Izette were acquitted on Sept 7, last year after the High Court allowed their revision applications against the Sessions Court's decision in ordering them to enter their defence on the corruption charges.

Following this, the prosecution filed an appeal on Sept 18, last year and the Court of Appeal has set July 29 to hear the appeal.

On Sept 2, 2022, the Sessions Court ordered the couple to enter their defence on all three corruption charges. This prompted them to file revision applications in the High Court against the Sessions Court's ruling.

Bung Moktar, who was then the non-executive chairman of Felcra, was charged on May 3, 2019 with two charges of accepting bribes of RM2.2 million and RM262,500 as an inducement to obtain Felcra approval to invest RM150 million in Public Mutual unit trusts.

He was alleged to have accepted the bribes from Madhi through Zizie Izette at Public Bank Taman Melawati Branch here between 12.30 pm and 5 pm on June 12, 2015.

Bung Moktar was also charged with receiving RM337,500 in cash from Norhaili, under the name of Zizie Izette for the same reason and place on June 19, 2015, while Zizie Izette was charged with three charges of abetting her husband over the matter at the same place, date and time. – Bernama

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