By Hafiz Yatim | The Edge Markets

The Sessions Court on Thursday gave a discharge not amounting to an acquittal to Aker Engineering Malaysia Sdn Bhd manager Ahmad Hatta Kamaruzzaman, who was initially charged with cheating Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd.

This follows Justice Azura Alwi allowing his lawyers’ preliminary objection in ruling the charge levelled against Ahmad Hatta is defective.

Justice Azura said the prosecution had failed to state the ingredient of the offence of which Ahmad Hatta is charged.

“This court agrees with the defence that the prosecution had not provided detailed particulars of the offence and the loss that is said to have been suffered.

“The nature of the charge should be clear in order for the defence to prepare an effective defence to the accused. I find that the charge does not fulfil the provisions under section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

“With this, this court finds the charge levelled to be groundless and defective. For these reasons, this court allows the preliminary objection, and the court grants a discharge not amounting to an acquittal,” Azura said.

Ahmad Hatta’s counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad had previously argued that the charge that was preferred against his client was vague and drafted in such a way that the major allegation made against him is not known.

In Thursday’s proceedings, besides Amer Hamzah, Ahmad Hatta was represented by Michael Cheah and Joshua Tay while Elizabeth Goh held a watching brief for Aker Engineering.

Deputy Public Prosecutor CH Law appeared for the prosecution.

Previously, Ahmad Hatta’s lawyers had sent a representation letter to the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) last August. Normally a representation letter is sent to either drop or reduce a charge. However, last month, the AGC rejected the representation letter.

A discharge not amounting to an acquittal means the possibility that Ahmad Hatta could be re-charged.

Ahmad Hatta, a vice president of Aker Solutions headquartered in Norway, was charged on June 11 under section 417 of the Penal Code with allegedly being an agent for the company in making false representations regarding the ownership of one of its Malaysian units in order to win licences from Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas).

He was accused of submitting documents aimed at misleading Petronas subsidiary Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd — that one of Aker’s subsidiaries was qualified as a bumiputera-owned company when it did not.

Ahmad Hatta was alleged to have committed the offence on Aug 7, 2018. He has claimed trial to the charge and had a bail of RM20,000 imposed on him.