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Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court September 6, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court September 6, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was “overprosecuted” when the prosecution pressed 47 criminal charges against him and some were “empty shells” that should be dropped, his lawyer told the High Court today.

Zahid’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik also claimed that the attorney general, who is also the public prosecutor, had acted unfairly towards his client, highlighting that this was despite the law recognising the public prosecutor as a “minister of justice”.

Noting that just as the law does not allow an accused person to be “overconvicted and underconvicted”, Hisyam stressed that: “Likewise, an accused person cannot be overprosecuted or underprosecuted, it doesn’t speak well of the justice system.”

He then went on to argue that Zahid has been overprosecuted, saying: “In this case, the accused person has been overprosecuted, has been unnecessarily overprosecuted.”

Hisyam then cited several examples of some of the 47 charges which he claimed to actually be “empty shells”, arguing that some of the prosecution’s star witnesses had come to court and “compromised” the prosecution’s case.

He argued that the prosecution should review the evidence in such situations and drop the related charges.

Hisyam noted for example that for all the eight corruption charges against Zahid, that three prosecution witnesses had testified in court that there was “no elements of corruption” and that one witness had even said it is “fitnah” or slander.

“Under these circumstances, the right thing to do is for the prosecution to look at the evidence again and withdraw the charges. That is the right thing to do.

“Sometime last week, we saw in the press that the ex-Felda director was charged with 29 counts of corruption under the MACC Act and all the charges were withdrawn. And one of the reasons is witness compromised evidence. That is the right decision.

“In our case, the key witness for prosecution came to court and said there’s no element of corruption. In spite of the evidence, in spite of the compromised prosecution, the prosecution still wants to proceed,” he said.

Having gone through other examples which Hisyam argued showed that some of the charges were “empty charges” and represented an overprosecution of Zahid, the lawyer said: “With all these instances, we can draw a strong inference that the prosecution is motivated not by law, not by evidence, but by oblique motive.”

In this trial, Zahid ― who is a former home minister and currently the Umno president ― is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.

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