PUTRAJAYA: The Appeals Court today ruled that there was no credible evidence showing that there was a "salam" (greeting) code word between Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad and his former special political officer, namely Muhammad Zahid Md Arip.

During the trial at the High Court, Muhammad Zahid, who was the 21st prosecution witness told the trial judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that the 'salam' from Mohd Isa was a request for funds.

However, today, the three-judge panel, led by Judge Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera who acquitted Isa Samad of all nine corruption charges, said, there was no credible evidence showing that there was such an understanding between the appellant (Mohd Isa) and Muhammad Zahid to use the code word.

"During cross-examination, Muhammad Zahid gave contradictory evidence in this regard. Muhammad Zahid stated that the appellant gave 'salam' before every transaction; he (Muhammad Zahid) then agreed that the appellant did not give the 'salam' as a signal before every transaction.

"He then stated that though the conveying of the 'salam' was a pattern, it was not included in his witness statement; and the witness also admitted that only he used the 'salam' which was not given in the past and that the appellant gave 'salam' before each transaction.

"We note that the existence of these material contradictions in the answers given by Muhammad Zahid regarding this crucial issue of the conveying of the 'salam' from Mohd Isa as the trigger signal for Muhammad Zahid to demand for payment to be made by former property developer Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd board of director Ikhwan Zaidel was not properly evaluated by the trial judge," he said.

The judge also stressed that Judge Mohd Nazlan should have evaluated Muhammad Zahid's answers during cross-examination on this very important issue because it would have greatly assisted the trial judge to examining the credibility, consistency and accuracy of his testimony.

"This is particularly so when Muhammad Zahid said that the total amount agreed to be paid by Ikhwan was RM3 million, but while the amount stated in the nine charges tallied, they totalled more than RM3 million, and there was no plausible explanation given by Muhammad Zahid for this contradiction.

"We find that the learned trial judge's finding that there was a demand for payment made by the appellant through Muhammad Zahid and that Ikhwan had made nine payments via Muhammad Zahid to Mohd Isa is not bome out by credible evidence.

"The evidence shows that Ikhwan made the nine payments to Muhammad Zahid but apart from the oral evidence of Muhammad Zahid, there was no other evidence showing that the appellant had received these payments from Ikhwan," said the judge.