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Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was absent from court this morning just as the prosecution was to submit its case. — File picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was absent from court this morning just as the prosecution was to submit its case. — File picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption case involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds was suspended today as the accused is currently hospitalised for a neck injury after suffering a fall.

The Umno president was absent from court this morning just as the prosecution was to submit its case.

Defence lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik informed High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah that Ahmad Zahid had been admitted to a private hospital on August 22 due to a fall last week.

“We have a letter dated August 23, 2021 explaining to Your Lordship the circumstances of the accused not being present.

“In the said letter, the doctor had said he sustained a fall on August 18 around 5pm and the injuries sustained as a result of the fall.

“He is not fit to attend court proceedings due to severe neck pain. He is unable to sit for a long time,” he said.

Hisyam added that Ahmad Zahid was scheduled to undergo a medical procedure at 8am today to relieve the pain.

He added that the defence team is not deliberately trying to delay the trial and is willing to proceed with the hearing if necessary.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran stood up and said the prosecution too can continue but would not wish to be seen as denying the accused’s rights of a fair trial.

“However, my concern is that the letter does not say whether the accused agreed to have the case proceed in his absence. 

“That is an important point to consider, My Lord, we don’t want the court to be seen as denying his right to be heard,” she said.

The High Court is scheduled to hear submissions at the end of prosecution from today and on September 6 to September 9.

On March 19, the prosecution closed the case after calling 99 witnesses to testify.

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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