KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — The High Court here today acquitted and discharged Datuk Abdul Latif Abdul Rahim from two charges of abetting his younger brother, former Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez, with accepting bribes involving highway construction projects and road upgrades in Perak and Kedah.

Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah acquitted Abdul Latif, 64, after allowing his application for a revision against the Sessions Court’s decision to grant a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA).

He said there is no merit to the reason given by the public prosecutor as to why the applicant (Abdul Latif) should not be granted a full acquittal.

“The trend of cases showed that unless there are good reasons shown, the order granted should be a discharge amounting to an acquittal,” he said.

The judge said the prosecution had mentioned two reasons why the applicant should not be fully acquitted, that the applicant would be a prosecution witness against the other accused (Abdul Azeez) and if there are any developments in the evidence given, the case against the applicant will resume.

However, Judge Sequerah said the reason that the applicant is to be a witness against his brother will open the possibility of the applicant being effectively held to ransom to testify favourably to the prosecution.

“This will not amount to a proper reason to grant a discharge not amounting to an acquittal. There is the possibility of the propriety of such evidence being attacked and subsequently be regarded as tainted,” he said.

On the second reason, the judge said it also could not be regarded as a proper reason for granting a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

“There was nothing forthcoming to show that the prosecution will proceed with the case definitely and this was akin to the applicant having an indefinite future. Thus, this revision is allowed and the order of the learned Sessions Court judge is set aside.

“The order is for the applicant to be given a discharge amounting to an acquittal,” he said adding that 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.

Abdul Latif had filed a revision’s application in Sept 2021 against the Sessions Court’s decision on Feb 8, last year granted a DNAA to Abdul Latif following an application by the prosecution to drop the case against him by making him a prosecution witness.

Abdul Azeez, 55, who is also Baling MP, is charged with three counts of accepting bribes totalling RM5.2mil in connection with road projects in Perak and Kedah as well as 10 counts of money laundering.

He is accused of committing the offence at CIMB Bank, Jalan Tun Perak in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 8, 2010, and at Affin Bank, Pusat Bandar Puchong in Selangor on June 13, 2017, and April 10, 2018, while the money laundering offences were allegedly committed in the Klang Valley area between March 8, 2010, and August 30, 2018.

His brother, Abdul Latif is accused of abetting his brother in obtaining a RM4 million bribe from 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.

He is accused of committing both offences at Affin Bank, Pusat Bandar Puchong in Selangor on June 13, 2017, and April 10, 2018.

Abdul Latif was represented by counsel Datuk Seri Dr Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos while deputy public prosecutor Nik Haslinie Hashim and Hafizatul Ifa Ab Razak appeared for the prosecution. — Bernama