Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Former top spy given discharge for RM50 million CBT charge

Hasanah Ab Hamid had been accused of criminal breach of trust involving RM50.4 million belonging to the government.

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The High Court in Kuala Lumpur today granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) to former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) Hasanah Ab Hamid in her criminal breach of trust (CBT) trial involving US$12.1 million (RM50.4 million) belonging to the Malaysian government three years ago.

Judge Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh made the ruling after deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad informed the court that the prosecution had applied not to continue the case against Hasanah.

“The DPP indicated that the accused (Hasanah) will be charged again in the future. The DPP also clarified the existence of a new development.

“Under these circumstances, the court finds that the prosecution has provided reasonable grounds in exercising its power not to prosecute the accused further. Therefore, the court hereby orders that the accused be given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal,” said the judge.

Shahrir also said that when the DPP exercised his authority under Section 254 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code not to prosecute the accused further, it was the duty of the court under Section 254 (3) of the same law to consider whether the accused should be granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal or to be acquitted and discharged.

“This is a judicial discretionary power that must be considered based on law. The fact is, the court cannot urge the DPP to continue the case against the accused if the prosecution withdraws the charge. This is the position of the law,” he said.

Earlier, lawyer Hamdan Hamzah, who represented Hasanah, said that the defence team did not object to the prosecution’s application.

The trial of the case, which commenced on Oct 6 last year, saw 10 prosecution witnesses testifying including investigating officer Badri Azni from the Forensic Technology Division at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters, and MACC assistant enforcement officer Muhammad Nizhar Kadir.

The trial was originally scheduled to continue today with a protected witness called to testify.

On Oct 25, 2018, Hasanah, 64, pleaded not guilty to committing CBT involving US$12.1 (RM50.4 million) in funds belonging to the government when serving as the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Department Research Division.

She was charged with committing the offence at the office of the Research Division at the Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya between April 30 and May 9, 2018.

The charge, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and whipping as well as a fine upon conviction.

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