KUALA LUMPUR, 15 May 2009: The High Court here today upheld the Sessions Court decision in acquitting former Felcra Director-General Datuk Mustapa Juman of criminal breach of trust.
“I’m speechless, grateful. Praise be to Allah,” said the 63-year-old man while holding back tears of relief as he left the court.
On 3 Dec 1999, Mustapa pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court to three counts of criminal breach of trust involving a total of RM40 million at the Felcra Office, Level 3, Bangunan Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera, Jalan Bukit Bintang, here on 6, 7 and 9 May 1997.
Sessions Court Judge Nursinah Adzmi acquitted and discharged him on 30 May 2006 at the end of full trial but the prosecution appealed.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Abdul Razak Musa had argued that there was circumstantial evidence that showed that Mustapa was the mastermind in the issuance of cheques worth RM40 million from Felcra’s account.
Defence lawyer Mohd Fozi Md Zain, meanwhile, submitted that the prosecution had failed to prove that his client committed the offence and that they had produced three untrue witnesses who had a motive to escape charges.
At the end of the hearing, Justice Datuk Ghazali Cha said: “After scrutinising the trial judge’s judgement, I am satisfied that there were no errors or wrong finding of facts and which contradicted the evidence adduced.
“Therefore, the prosecution’s appeal is dismissed and the acquittal order is retained,” he said, prompting Mustapa to break down and give his lawyer a hug and a peck on the cheek.
Mustapa was not involved in issuing and signing the cheques, the judge said.
“The 34th prosecution witness, Felcra Finance Director Zainuddin Ahmad, had given evidence and said the accused had met him on 6 May 1997 and instructed him to take out the RM40 million from the Felcra account for investment.
“The respondent had denied meeting this witness and giving the instruction because on that date the respondent left for Langkawi in a plane and this evidence was supported by defence witnesses,” he said.
Ghazali said the accused’s defence in this case was not deliberately planned, nor was it a mere denial.
“I agree that three prosecution witnesses, namely Peneroka-Peneroka Felcra (KPFB) Holdings Bhd general manager Mohd Dzaki Mohd Rejab, KPFB Holdings chairperson Kamaruzaman Abdul Majid and Zainuddin were accomplices who had given evidence with a motive to escape the law,” he said. — Bernama