Malaysia court drops graft charges against deputy PM

A Malaysian court on Monday approved a prosecution request to drop all graft charges against the country’s deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, state news agency Bernama reported.

Zahid was facing 47 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering related to the misuse of funds at a charity he founded.

They were part of a raft of charges levelled at leading figures of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party after it was defeated at the polls in 2018, including former prime minister Najib Razak over massive corruption at state fund 1MDB.

Prosecutors in Zahid’s case said they wanted more time to investigate his case “in more depth,” Bernama reported.

Zahid, wearing a dark suit, hugged his supporters and family members who sat inside the packed courtroom when the decision was announced by the presiding judge.

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

The court said Zahid’s discharge did not amount to an acquittal. He was appointed deputy PM after November’s election when his UMNO party joined the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar was forced to ally with his former foes after falling short of an outright majority to form government.

Zahid was discharged from another graft case in September last year for what a court said was lack of evidence.

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