Trial suspended after Zahid admitted to hospital for back injuries

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With consent from both prosecution and defence, the judge issued a subpoena for the doctor to present himself in court to find out the nature of Ahmad Zahid’s injury and prognosis.

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 Kuala Lumpur 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, meanwhile, told the court that the prosecution was ready for submission but had concerns over Ahmad Zahid’s absence.

“We have gone through a lot of postponement for this case, but our main concern is that the accused is not present.

“We leave it to the court to decide whether we can proceed online or proceed without the accused present,” she said.

The prosecutor added that it was important to consider Ahmad Zahid’s presence as the prosecution did not want the court to be seen as denying the accused his rights to be heard in court.

DPP Raja Rozela also suggested for the court to hear from the doctor himself as to what the prognosis for Ahmad Zahid involved and how it would affect his recovery.

Justice Sequerah said the court needed to know what was meant by “pain intervention procedure” and agreed to subpoena the doctor.

“We want some certainty on the recovery. We can’t afford any more delays. I want to finish this case this year.

“This is a 2019 case and now it is already 2021. I don’t want it to spill over to next year,” he said.

With both prosecution and defence in agreement, the judge then issued a subpoena for Dr Mohd Shahir to present himself in court on August 25 at 3.30pm to find out the nature of Ahmad Zahid’s injury and prognosis.

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

On Oct 19 and Dec 14, 2018, and Feb 20, 2019, Ahmad Zahid claimed trial at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to a total of 47 charges, 12 of which are for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for bribery and 27 for money laundering involving millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

For the 12 CBT charges, Ahmad Zahid is accused of having used the funds to make payments for personal credit cards, insurance policies and personal vehicle licences, remittances to a law firm and contributions to the Royal Malaysia Police football association.

He is alleged to have committed the offences at the Affin Bank Bhd branch in Jalan Bunus off Jalan Masjid India here between Jan 13, 2014, and Dec 23, 2016.

The 68-year-old Bagan Datuk MP is also charged with eight counts of receiving bribes from three companies as an inducement for him, in his capacity as the then home minister, to help the companies obtain MyEG projects, for the supply of passport chips and to be appointed the operator of migrant visa one-stop centres in Pakistan and Nepal, respectively.

He was accused of having committed all the offences at the Maybank branch at Dataran Maybank in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, between July 15, 2016, and March 15, 2018, under Section 16(a)(B) of the MACC Act 2009.

He also faces 27 money laundering charges by engaging in direct transactions involving proceeds from illegal activities between March 29, 2016, and April 11, 2018.