Ahmad Zahid’s Foreign Visa System graft trial gets underway at Shah Alam High Court

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SHAH ALAM: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s second graft trial has begun at the High Court here, with the former deputy prime minister facing 40 charges.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Umno president, was charged in June 2019.

Of the 40 charges, 33 are for allegedly receiving SGD13.56mil (about RM42.2mil at current exchange rates) as financial inducement from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) in his capacity as a civil servant and then home minister to extend the company’s contract to operate the One-Stop Centre (OSC) in China and the Foreign Visa System (VLN) system, as well as to maintain the agreement with the same company and the Home Ministry to supply VLN integrated system paraphernalia.

Ahmad Zahid, 68, who is Bagan Datuk MP, was charged under Section 16 (a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

He can be punished under Section 24(1) of the same Act and, if found guilty, faces a jail term up to 20 years and a fine not less than five times the value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

For the other seven charges, Ahmad Zahid is accused of accepting SGD1.15mil (RM3.58mil), RM3mil, 15,000 Euros (RM75,600) and US$15,000 (RM62,000) in cash from the same company as home minister, in spite of knowing its (the company’s) link with his ministerial portfolio.

He was charged under Section 165 of the Penal Code and faces up to two years imprisonment or a fine or both if found guilty.

He is also facing 33 alternative charges under Section 165 of the Penal Code for receiving bribes amounting to SGD13.56mil for the VLN system in his capacity as home minister.

He allegedly committed the offences between 2014 and 2018 at the deputy prime minister’s official residence in Seri Satria, Precinct 16, Putrajaya, and at a house in Country Heights, Kajang.

The case is being heard before Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa.

DPP Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran is leading the prosecution while Hisyam Teh Poh Teik and Hamidi Mohd Noh are defending Ahmad Zahid.

In her opening statement, Raja Rozela said the accused had, in his four years as home minister, taken the opportunity to enrich himself.

“The accused was involved in and had knowledge about UKSB’s appointment as contractor.

“The prosecution will present oral statements and documents to prove this,” added Raja Rozela.

She said UKSB was appointed by the Federal Government as a contractor to carry out supply and services work for the Home Ministry.

“UKSB’s appointment was made in accordance with several agreements signed between the Malaysian government and UKSB,” said Raja Rozela.

According to her, the court will hear statements by several witnesses that will explain the facts in detail as well as when and how the bribes were accepted by the accused.

“At the end of the prosecution’s case, Yang Arif will see the existence of a close link between the facts of UKSB’s appointment as contractor and facts of acceptance of the cash by the accused,” she said.

She added that the link between both the facts was important in proving the accused had received the money as payment and inducement to retain and extend UKSB’s appointment contract.

“The prosecution will call at least 20 witnesses and will depend on documentation evidence, direct evidence and circumstantial evidence, whichever is required,” said Raja Rozela.

She added that the evidence presented will prove a prima facie case that Ahmad Zahid had committed the crime as stipulated in each charge.

Ahmad Zahid also has an ongoing trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in which he faces 47 charges of alleged criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering in relation to funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.



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