The criminal court has denied an application by a “Datuk Seri” to drop the RM15 million corruption case against him that mentioned former home minister Hamzah Zainudin.
Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob this afternoon dismissed the application by accused businessperson Sim Choo Thiam for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) over the four graft charges – one for soliciting and three for receiving bribes – involving RM15 million.
Rozina said that any purported defect in the charges is curable during the full trial set for May next year and does not prejudice the accused.
She also rejected Sim’s application under Section 51A of Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) for the prosecution to furnish several written statements of fact favourable to the accused.
One of these is in relation to the alleged fact that MACC only recorded Hamzah’s statement in the afternoon of May 10, after Sim was charged at the criminal court in the morning of that same day.
Another one is over an alleged fact that the statements he gave and recorded by MACC earlier on Feb 16 and 28 this year are “exculpatory statements” that do not support any alleged offence stated in the four charges.
Counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik appeared for Sim, while deputy public prosecutor Rasyidah Murni Adzmi was part of the prosecution team this afternoon.
When met by the media after proceedings, Hisyam said they are mulling whether to file a revision application at the High Court to overturn today’s ruling.
According to a copy of the setting-aside application, Sim contended that the four charges contravened Sections 153 and 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) that require the particulars of the offence such as the time and place of the alleged incident.
The businessperson also claimed that “the investigation of the case at the material time was not complete”.
Unlike a full acquittal, an accused person granted a DNAA may be charged with the same offence in the future if the prosecution wishes to do so.
The application is made under Section 173(g) of CPC.
On May 10, Sim claimed trial for the four graft charges for offences allegedly committed between June (no specific date mentioned) and July 30, 2021.
The 63-year-old was accused of perpetrating the crime as inducement for Hamzah, who was then the home minister during the Perikatan Nasional administration, to help Asia Coding Centre Sdn Bhd to obtain any project from agencies under the ministry.
Sim was alleged to have solicited the bribe from one Syed Abu Zhafran Syed Ahmad and received the bribe from Asia Coding Centre managing director Hep Kim Hong.
The accused was alleged to have committed the offences at Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, Kuala Lumpur.
The charges are framed under Section 16(a)(B) of the MACC Act 2009, with Section 24(1) of the same act specifying maximum penalties of imprisonment not exceeding 20 years, as well as a fine not less than five times the alleged graft amount involved or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
The criminal court had released Sim on RM1 million bail with one surety. The accused was also ordered to surrender his passport as well as report to the nearest MACC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur once a month.
On May 11, opposition leader Hamzah called the implication of his name in the case a political ploy aimed at tarnishing his reputation.
The criminal court has also set 10 days in May next year for a full trial of the graft case against Sim. – Malaysiakini