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May 15 hearing on Rafizi’s application to refer on three constitutional questions

SHAH ALAM: The Sessions Court here yesterday set May 15 to hear an application by PKR secretary-general Mohd Rafizi Ramli to refer to the High Court three constitutional questions in relation to the charge he is facing under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia).

Judge Rozina Ayob set the date to give time in advance for the prosecution to file an affidavit in reply to the application.

Earlier Rozina rejected a preliminary objection raised by the prosecution on the Pandan MP’s application.

Mohd Rafizi, who is also PKR vice president, filed the application jointly with bank clerk, Johari Mohamad, in accordance with Section 30 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya representing Johari said they did not file the application earlier because when proceedings to set aside the Bafia charges against Mohd Rafizi were still ongoing, the court had ordered all proceedings concerning the case postponed, until the application to set aside the Bafia charges were completed.

“The prosecution too did not make any objection when the court suspended the Bafia case proceedings before this.

The prosecution only protested when we filed an appeal to the Federal Court,” she said.

Among the constitutional questions Mohd Rafizi and Johari wanted to refer to the High Court were whether the charges against them could be continued even though Bafia had been abolished and whether the claim under Bafia were unconstitutional elements as the intention was not stated as an element of offence in the Act.

Mohd Rafizi, 38, pleaded not guilty to disclosing documents comprising balance summaries relating to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC), National Meat & Livestock Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd and NFC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail bank accounts to media consultant Yusof Abdul Alim and The Star reporter, Erle Martin Carvalho.

He is charged with committing the offence at the PKR headquarters in Merchant Square, Jalan Tropicana Selatan, Petaling Jaya, on March 7, 2012.

The charge under Section 97(1) of the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia) 1989, punishable under Section 103(1)(a) of the same Act, carries a maximum three-year jail sentence or RM3 million fine, or both, upon conviction.

Johari, 44, also pleaded not guilty to conspiring with Mohd Rafizi on the same date and address.

He is charged under Section 112 (1)(c) Bafia, and punishable under Section 103 of the same Act.

On Sept 10, 2012, Mohd Rafizi filed an application to set aside the charges but his application was denied by the High Court in Shah Alam on Nov 23, 2012.

The Court of Appeal also upheld the decision of the High Court after dismissing the appeal by Mohd Rafizi.

On April 6, the Federal Court quashed Mohd Rafizi’s appeal to set aside the charges under Bafia as the court had no jurisdiction to hear cases arising from the Sessions Court. — Bernama