KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has allowed the prosecution’s application to impeach a defence witness in Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption trial whose statement in court is said to have differed from the one given to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said the application under Section 155(c) of the Evidence Act did allude to instances where the document in classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
“The provision allows for the impeachment application under the present circumstances,” he said.
He adjourned the hearing to give the prosecution and defence a break to make submissions.
Deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran had made the application when cross-examining contractor Jefri Jamil, the third defence witness in Zahid’s trial.
Jefri is a witness offered by the prosecution when Zahid was ordered to enter defence.
In court, Jefri said Zahid allowed his company, Teknik Sempurna Sdn Bhd, to build a mosque and a religious school in Melaka at RM9.9 million and that the payment came from Yayasan Akalbudi.
Jefri told Raja Rozela he gave a statement to MACC in 2018 but could not remember it now.
This prompted Raja Rozela to make the application. However, Zahid’s lead counsel, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, objected, saying the prosecution could not subject Jefri’s evidence to be impeached.
Hisyam said this was because MACC had on March 7 this year classified eight investigation papers in relation to the case under the OSA.
This classification was made when the defence attempted to obtain the statements of all witnesses offered to them. However, the court had refused the application in May.
Today, Hisyam said there was no evidence that the investigation papers had been declassified.
“The prosecution cannot use Jefri’s statement as it also comes under the OSA,” he said.
Raja Rozela said Jefri’s credibility could be impeached under Section 155(c) of the Evidence Act, for giving evidence inconsistent with previous statements.
Zahid is standing trial on charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi and for accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as the home minister.
Twenty-seven charges are for money laundering and another eight are for corruption.