| 18 July 2024, Thursday |

Malaysia: Corruption charges against deputy PM dropped

On Monday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court decided to dismiss corruption charges against Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. According to the state news agency Bernama, prosecutors chose not to proceed with the case.
Ahmad Zahid had been among several senior officials in Malaysia who were charged with corruption in 2018.

The charges came after the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party lost at the polls due to widespread anger over corruption.

He faced 47 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering related to the alleged misuse of funds at a charity he founded.

Why were charges dropped?
Prosecutors said they needed more time to probe his case “in more depth,” state news reported.

According to the Reuters news agency, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, one of Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers, confirmed the report and said his team had requested a full acquittal.

“My family and I are grateful that the court has discharged me of all 47 charges,” Zahid told a press conference.

The court said that the discharged charges did not amount to an acquittal.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim vowed to fight corruption in the country when he took office in November 2022, but the court’s decision allows the leader of a key partner in the ruling coalition to walk free.

The 1MDB affair
In July 2020, former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment after being found guilty of all seven charges related to state development fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Najib set up 1MDB shortly after becoming prime minister in 2009 to help boost Malaysia’s economic development.

But the fund accumulated billions in debt, and US investigators allege that at least $4.5 billion was stolen from it and laundered by Najib’s associates to finance Hollywood films and buy hotels, a $250-million superyacht, jewelry and a Pablo Picasso painting.

More than $1 billion from the fund allegedly landed in Najib’s bank accounts.

  • DW