Anticipating backlash after Zahid’s DNAA, Bung Moktar insists his acquittal based on merits

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin said today his acquittal from three corruption charges was based on “merits”, as the Kinabatangan MP sought to distance himself from other high-profile corruption trials involving Umno leaders.

After Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s case over 47 graft charges was discontinued with a discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA), the Sabah Umno chief insisted his case had nothing to do with Zahid’s.

“There is no relation between my case and others. Just because Zahid was freed, [it does not mean] I must be freed too,” English daily The Star quoted him saying.

“The judge has stated that I was acquitted and discharged due to the failure of the prosecution in proving wrongdoings, and two of [the prosecution’s] main witnesses had made [an about-turn].”

Bung Moktar and his wife Datin Seri Zizie Izette Abdul Samad were acquitted and discharged from three corruption charges by the High Court today, just two days after Deputy Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was granted a discharge not amounting to acquittal.

Zahid was tried for 47 charges of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid, the High Court judge who presided over Bung Moktar and his wife’s case, made the decision after allowing the couple’s applications for a revision against the Sessions Court’s decision that ordered them to enter their defence.

The two were accused of soliciting and receiving bribes totalling RM2.8 million. The bribes were purportedly an inducement given to Bung Moktar in a bid to get the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority to invest RM150 million in Public Mutual unit trusts in 2015.

Bung Moktar was Felcra non-executive chairman at the time. Zizie faced three charges of abetting her husband in the alleged offences.

Free Malaysia Today reported Justice Azhar as saying that the Sessions Court had erred by asking Bung and Zizie to enter their defence when there was no evidence that Bung had received money from two Public Mutual Trust agents through Zizie.

The media reported that Bung, 63, was calm while Zizie Izette, 44, was in tears after the judge read out the decision.

“We won the case on merit after five years,” the Kinabatangan MP was quoted as saying as he was approached by reporters outside the Kuala Lumpur court complex.