Court frees ex-vice chancellor of power abuse

Former Upsi vice-chancellor Zakaria Kasa (middle) speaks with his lawyer at the Sessions Court in Ipoh today. (Bernama pic)

IPOH: The Sessions Court here today acquitted and discharged former Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (Upsi) vice-chancellor Zakaria Kasa of abuse of power without calling for his defence.

Judge S Indra Nehru ordered the release of Zakaria, 62, after finding that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case.

Zakaria, who was chairman of the Upsi executive management meeting, was charged with using his position to include his son for a job interview at the university five years ago.

He was alleged to have instructed Upsi registrar Mohd Faizi Othman to include the name of Mohd Fauzi Zakaria for the job interview on Sept 12, 2014.

The offence was allegedly committed at the chancellery building at Upsi in Tanjung Malim, between June 24 and Sept 12, 2014.

The charge, under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of gratification involved or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

On Nov 27 last year, Zakaria was also charged with two counts of using his position to approve Fauzi’s appointment and that of his daughter-in-law, Siti Nooraishah Mansor, as a university staff.

However, on June 20 this year, the prosecution amended the charges, leaving only one involving the son.

Deputy public prosecutor from MACC, Nurul Wahida Jalaluddin, prosecuted, while lawyers Shahidah Muslimah Roslan, Noor Hidayah Mohd Saad and Mohd Khairul Fairuz Rahman, represented Zakaria.