Select committee may call in ex-lead prosecutor in Zahid’s case, says chairman

Noel Achariam

The Special Select Committee on Human Rights, Election and Institutional Reform will be calling in the attorney-general and his predecessor to explain the decision to drop all graft charges against Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, September 13, 2023.

RAJA Rozela Raja Toran, the former lead prosecutor in Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption trial, could be called before the Special Select Committee on Human Rights, Election and Institutional Reform to give details on the case, its chairman William Leong said.

He said this may come after the committee hears explanations from the attorney-general and his predecessor on the decision to drop all graft charges against the deputy prime minister.

He said if there is a necessity to call in Raja Rozela, it will do it.

However, he said, this will depend on the explanations given by Attorney-General Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh and his predecessor, Idrus Harun.

Leong advised both men to come fully prepared when they turn up before the committee.

“We will fix the dates for the hearing as soon as possible,” he said.

“We have to be fair to the people we are calling in. We need to work on a timetable to give them enough time to prepare their documents.

“We want them to come fully prepared to give us the answers on why the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had applied and obtained a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) for Zahid’s 47 corruption charges.”

Raja Rozela had led the prosecution team since Zahid’s Yayasan Akalbudi trial began on November 18, 2019. Ninety-nine prosecution witnesses had been called to testify.

Raja Rozela had successfully proved to the court all 47 charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi and the receiving of bribes for various projects during Zahid’s tenure as home minister.

The last time Raja Rozela had appeared in court for Zahid’s trial was on April 10, which was when the High Court was informed of Zahid submitting a second representation to the attorney-general on the case.

The case was then postponed to August for the AGC to study his representation and await the outcome of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) further investigations into the case.

Raja Rozela was replaced as the lead prosecutor on August 8 as she had applied for early retirement on April 3. Idrus had then said the application was approved and would be enforced on November 1.

Yesterday, Leong told the Dewan Rakyat that a full report would be tabled to the house after the two top lawyers were interviewed.

“I have made a statement that the committee will summon the attorney-general (and former attorney-general) to explain the withdrawal (of Zahid’s charges),” he said.

“The committee will table the findings once the investigation is completed.”

Last week, the AGC said there were cogent reasons to request a DNAA in Zahid’s case.

High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah had allowed the prosecution’s request to discharge Zahid of all 47 charges.

The prosecution said it wanted to halt proceedings to make way for further investigations into the case. – September 13, 2023.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.