By Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid | Malaysiakini
The four abuse of power charges against Muhyiddin Yassin are complete with particulars to notify the former Prime Minister of the offences he was accused of, contended a prosecutor.
During today’s hearing before the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Muhyiddin’s application to strike out the four criminal charges, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib dissected the details in the charges that would allegedly serve as sufficient notice to the accused on the offence he was alleged to have committed.
The DPP pointed out that the four charges stated the elements of an offence under section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009, namely that Muhyiddin, in his capacity as then public officer namely Prime Minister, had used the position for the gratification of RM232 million.
“It is premature to say the charges are defective. Here the charges are complete and give sufficient notice (to Muhyiddin so he could prepare sufficient defence)… who were you then as Prime Minister and Bersatu president.. from whom (were the gratification allegedly received) being Bukhary Equity (Sdn Bhd, as well as two other companies and an individual). What more do you need?
“The RM200 million (plus) and date (between March 1, 2020, and Aug 20, 2021) are specific. You (Muhyiddin) should know what you did then. The burden is on us (prosecution) to prove you did what you did based on those (details),” Akram told Judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin.
Jamil was asking the prosecution over previous criminal cases — such as former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s RM42 million SRC International corruption case and the 1MDB audit case against Najib and 1MDB former CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy — which exhibited more details in their charges.
The judge remarked that section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code requires the particulars of offences to be stated in criminal charges, pointing out that the charges against Najib had particulars on how the alleged offences were committed.
The judge pointed out that in Najib’s and Arul Kanda’s case, the particulars of the decision and action that amounted to abuse were particularised in the charge, but that these were not set out in the four abuse of power charges against Muhyiddin.
The judge asked for case authorities that backed the prosecution’s assertion that those particulars need not be mentioned, to which the prosecution team admitted they do not have such case laws to support their contention.
Jamil’s questioning came on the heels of earlier oral submissions by Muhyiddin’s legal team that the charges were defective and did not disclose an offence known in law and lacked particulars of what action or decision Muhyiddin took that amounted to abuse of power.
In April, Muhyiddin’s legal team filed the application to strike out the four abuse of power charges, contending that they are defective and bad in law due to a lack of particulars of the alleged offence.
Earlier during today’s High Court proceedings, Muhyiddin’s counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik submitted that the four power abuse charges are seriously defective and amounted to a miscarriage of justice against the former premier.
He contended that these charges are ambiguous as they do not disclose any offence, pointing out that the charges listed Bersatu as an organisation when, in reality, it is a society per the Societies Act 1966.
The four charges contained allegations of abuse of power involving Muhyiddin’s position as Bersatu president as well as the political party’s accounts.
Hisyam submitted that the purportedly defective charges amounted to oppression against Muhyiddin as his name was tarnished, and his freedom of travel prohibited due to his passport being impounded by the court, among other damages suffered.
“A charge is a serious and most important document that gives information to the accused on what the allegation against him is so that he is able to instruct his lawyer to make an effective defence,” Hisyam submitted.
Proceedings before Jamil will resume this afternoon. Muhyiddin was present in court.
During further oral submissions, the former Prime Minister’s counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad contended that case law for section 154 of CPC showed that the standard to be used for framing details in charges is not in accordance with the prosecution’s mindset but what can be reasonably understood by the accused’s mindset.
The lawyer pointed out that among the deficiencies in details in Muhyiddin’s power abuse charges are the wide period of time of the alleged offences, which makes it difficult for the defence team to prepare appropriate rebuttal arguments.
After further submissions from parties, Jamil set Aug 15 for a decision on Muhyiddin’s striking-out application.
Back in March before the criminal sessions court, Muhyiddin claimed trial to four counts of abuse of power and three money laundering charges involving RM232.5 million.
The four abuse of power charges, framed under section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009, accused him of using his position as then Prime Minister and Bersatu president, for an inducement of RM232.5 million from three companies and an individual, between March 1, 2020, and Aug 20, 2021.
The three companies are Bukhary Equity, Nepturis Sdn Bhd and Mamfor Sdn Bhd, while the individual in question is Azman Yusoff.
The three money laundering charges were laid out under section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA) — read with section 87(1) of the same act.
The 76-year-old is accused of abusing his powers for Bersatu to receive RM125 million of proceeds from illegal activity from Bukhary Equity — between Feb 25, 2021, and July 8, 2022.
The charges did not allege that payment was made to Muhyiddin, hence why his personal bank accounts were never frozen.
The money laundering was allegedly committed by receiving money banked into Bersatu’s account.