By Hafiz Yatim | The Edge Markets

A lawyer appearing for Aker Engineering Malaysia Sdn Bhd manager Ahmad Hatta Kamaruzzaman has made a preliminary objection (PO) in the Sessions Court regarding the validity and legality of the cheating charge faced by his client.

Amer Hamzah Arshad, who was appearing with S. Devanandan, said the charge levelled against his client was vague and drafted in such a way that the major allegation made against him was not known, for which Ahmad Hatta had claimed trial.

The lawyer added that the charge levelled against Ahmad Hatta was groundless.

He also complained of not getting the documents from the prosecution as required under section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) — which they would use in the trial.

“I am prepared to argue in the preliminary objection today as I had filed my written submissions. However, [I] concede that the prosecution may need time,” he added.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Mohd Sophian Zakaria said today was fixed for mention and that he had just taken over the case from another DPP.

“I request that a formal application be made as to this PO. We have yet to receive the defence’s written submissions regarding the PO and we may need time to file a written submission,” he said.

Amer Hamzah replied that there is no need for the defence to make a formal application as it can give notice to the court, which he had done.

Sessions Court Judge Azura Alwi said as she had a pending trial today, the court fixed Aug 20 to submit on the issue of the PO.

“Parties are to file the written submissions before that,” she said.

Mohd Sophian also gave an undertaking that he would give the documents to be used in the trial as prescribed under section 51A of the CPC by Aug 6.

He said the documents could be given by the investigating officer to the accused.

Ahmad Hatta, a vice president of Aker Solutions headquarters 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 is 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 is 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.