Rafizi wins appeal against NFC conviction

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli with party colleague Wong Chen after the High Court ruling today. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: The High Court today ruled in favour of PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli against his conviction of leaking bank account details connected to the scandal-plagued National Feedlot Corporation (NFC).

Rafizi was found guilty last year of disclosing documents comprising balance summaries of bank accounts belonging to NFC, National Meat & Livestock Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd and NFC chairman Mohamad Salleh Ismail, the husband of former Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

He was sentenced to 30 months’ jail for the offence.

In an immediate reaction to today’s ruling, Subang MP Wong Chen said justice had been served.

“It was a tense judgment, started with favouring the prosecution then ending in favour of Rafizi. The court burst into claps!” he said in a Facebook post.

Judge Mohd Yazid Mustafa, who allowed the appeal against the conviction and sentence, said the prosecution failed to show the effort it took to produce Rafizi’s original press statement.

“But even if the prosecution had the original, they would have to fulfil the best evidence rule principle,” he said, adding that it must also be proved that the former Pandan MP was in possession of the original bank statement.

The prosecution had tendered a copy of the media statement which included an annexure of NFC’s banking details.

Former Public Bank clerk Johari Mohamad was also acquitted of abetting in the case.

Deputy public prosecutor Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abdul Rahman represented the prosecution while lawyer Ahmad Nizam Hamid appeared for Rafizi.

On Feb 7 last year, Sessions Court judge Zamri Bakar sentenced Rafizi and Johari to 30 months’ jail for revealing details relating to NFC’s subsidiary companies and executive chairman Salleh in 2012.

They were found guilty under the now-defunct Banking and Financial Institution Act, or Bafia.

The conviction prevented Rafizi from contesting in the general election, under Article 48 of the Federal Constitution which disqualifies a person from being an MP for five years if he or she is convicted and sentenced to more than a year in jail or fined more than RM2,000.

His Pandan seat was taken over by former PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Nizam voiced hope that the prosecution would not appeal to the Court of Appeal.

“He has no more criminal charges hanging over his head and could contest in elections,” he told FMT, adding that Rafizi had, at one point, 14 criminal and civil cases against him.

On May 31 this year, Rafizi also won his appeal against the findings of the High Court three years ago which ordered him to pay RM200,000 in damages to Salleh and NFC for defaming them.

Nizam said an appeal has been lodged in the Federal Court.