High Court acquits Azeez's brother of abetment charges in graft case
KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Abdul Latif Abdul Rahim has been freed from charges of abetting his younger brother Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez to accept bribes in connection to road projects in Perak and Kedah.
This was after the High Court allowed the businessman's application for a revision, seeking for the discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) order against him to be replaced instead with a full acquittal.
In allowing Abdul Latif's bid, judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah said Section 254(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code grants and empowers the court to exercise its discretionary power regarding a discharge amounting to an acquittal.
He said the trend of cases showed that unless there were good reasons given, the order granted should be a full acquittal.
"There is also no merit to the reasons given by the respondent (as to why the applicant should not be granted a full acquittal)," Sequerah said in his judgement.
He said the respondent's given reason that Abdul Latif would testify against his brother in the case, would have instead opened the possibility of the applicant being effectively held to ransom to testify favourably to the prosecution.
"Not the least being that there is possibility of the propriety of such evidence being attacked and subsequently be regarded as tainted," he said.
Sequerah said as for the respondent's reason that the possibility of the case against Abdul Latif would resume, there was nothing forthcoming to show that the prosecution will proceed with the case definitively and this would have led the applicant having an indefinite future.
These, he said could not be regarded as proper reasons for granting a DNAA.
"This revision is allowed. The order of the Sessions Court judge is hereby set aside.
"The order is for the applicant to be given a discharge amounting to an acquittal," the judge said.
During the proceedings, deputy public prosecutors Nik Haslinie Hashim and Hafizatul Ifa Ab Razak conducted the prosecution while Abdul Latif was represented by lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos.
On Feb 8, last year, the Sessions Court granted Abdul Latif a DNAA after allowing the prosecution's application for the case against him to be dropped to make him a prosecution witness.
Abdul Latif, 64, had in September, the same year, filed an application for a revision against the Sessions Court's order.
Abdul Azeez, 55, was charged with three counts of accepting bribes totalling RM5.2 million in connection with road projects in Perak and Kedah as well as 10 counts of money laundering.
The former Tabung Haji chairman was alleged to have committed the offences between March 8, 2010 and Aug 30, 2018.
Prior to the DNAA ruling, Abdul Latif was charged with abetting Abdul Azeez in obtaining a RM4 million bribe from one Mohammad Redzuan Mohanan Abdullah as gratification to help Syarikat Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd secure road projects through limited tender from the Works Ministry.
The project involved the Pantai Baru Coastal Expressway Project, upgrading works of Federal Road FT005 ( Teluk Intan to Kampung Lekir, Perak) valued at RM644,480,000.