Former Immigration Department D-G found guilty by judge that previously acquitted him

Former Immigration Department D-G found guilty by judge that previously acquitted him
Former Immigration Department director-general Datuk Wahid Md Don.

PUTRAJAYA - Former Immigration Department director-general Datuk Wahid Md Don has been convicted on Wednesday by the same Session Court judge that had earlier acquitted him.

Sessions Court judge Rosbiahanin Arifin found Wahid guilty of corruption involving visa applications for 4,337 Bangladeshis, and sentenced him to six years prison and a RM300,000 (S$118,000) fine.

She found that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt, as it's argument was mere a after thought.

Judge Rosbiahanin also impeached Wahid's evidence, meaning she agreed with the prosecution's stand that the contradictions between Wahid's statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and his testimony in court made him a suspect witness.

The decision came as an about turn, as Judge Rosbiahanin had acquitted Wahid of his charges at the end of the prosecution stage on Oct 15 2010.

The MACC had appealed against the decision, but on May 31 last year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court upheld Judge Rosbiahanin's judgement that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case.

However, the case was remitted to the same Sessions Judge when the Court of Appeal allowed the MACC's appeal.

The panel lead by Justice Abu Samah Nordin unanimously found that Judge Rosbiahanin had erred in her finding that the presumption of Wahid's corruption could be rebutted without hearing his defence.

Wahid, 59, was first charged on Aug 19, 2008, with agreeing to accept a RM60,000 bribe from businessman Datuk Low Chang Hian as part payment to expedite the approval of visa applications for 4,337 Bangladeshis, to enable them to enter Malaysia.

He is accused of committing the offence at Jalan Lembah Ledang, off Jalan Duta here, at 10.15pm on July 10, 2008, while still a director-general.

Counsel Datuk V. Sithambaram on Wednesday applied for a stay of execution against the jail time and fine, pending an appeal against the Session Court's decision.

However, Judge Rosbiahanin denied both points of the stay application, despite MACC legal and prosecution division director Datuk Abdul Razak Musa only objecting to the stay of jail time.

Sithambaram had filed for an appeal to the High Court against the trial judge's decision.

He told reporters that he would be applying to the High Court for a stay of execution and to bail his client, but in the interim, Wahid would be sent to Kajang prison.

Wahid, who served 35 years in Government service, had since retired.

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