By Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid | Malaysiakini

A senior vice president of Norway’s largest oil services firm was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) in a cheating case linked to the bumiputera status of its Malaysian unit.

The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today allowed a preliminary objection raised by lawyers of Ahmad Hatta Kamaruzzaman, the senior vice president of Aker Solutions Group, regarding the alleged defectiveness of the cheating charge.

Previously, it was reported Ahmad Hatta (above), who is also head of Aker Engineering Malaysia, was seeking to raise the preliminary objection against the cheating case.

Under the law, a DNAA ruling means that even though a criminal charge has been dropped, the prosecution could still choose in future to recharge the accused for the same offence.

On June 11, Bernama reported that Ahmad Hatta, 50, claimed trial to a charge of duping national oil producer Petronas, over the bumiputera status of the Malaysian unit of the Norwegian firm.

When contacted after proceedings before judge Azura Alwi today, the accused’s lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad confirmed that the lower court allowed the preliminary objection and granted the DNAA order.

“The court agreed with the defence that the prosecution failed to provide detailed particulars of the offence and the alleged loss suffered.

“The judge ruled that the nature of the charge should be clear for the defence to prepare an effective defence for the accused, thus the charge does not fulfil the requirement under section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” the lawyer explained.

Deputy Public Prosecutor CH Law prosecuted.

True status

The prosecution had alleged that Ahmad Hatta, as an agent of Aker Solutions Group, had intentionally submitted documents to hoodwink Petronas.

According to the charge, the offence was allegedly committed in order to get Aker Engineering Malaysia listed as a qualified company with bumiputera status, when the accused allegedly knew that it was not true.

Ahmad Hatta was alleged to have committed cheating by concealing the true status of the share ownership of the Malaysian unit. The offence was purportedly committed in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 7, 2018.

Section 417 of the Penal Code states a jail term of up to five years, or fine, or both penalties, if he is convicted.

Previously, Reuters reported that MACC was investigating one of Aker Solutions’ managers, over allegations of false representations to win licences from Petronas that are usually reserved for companies that abide by Malaysia’s bumiputera quota requirements.

The Norwegian old services firm also came into the public spotlight over allegations of judicial fixing that has rocked Malaysia’s legal fraternity.