Zahid Hamidi to know fate on foreign visa system case today


SHAH ALAM: The decision on whether Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will walk away or be ordered to enter his defence on 40 charges of corruption in connection with the Foreign Visa System (VLN) scandal will be known today.

High Court judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa is scheduled to deliver his decision at the end of the defence’s case at 9am.

If the decision favours the prosecution, Zahid, 69, will be called to enter his defence. Otherwise, the Umno president and former deputy prime minister will be acquitted and discharged from the case.

The prosecution is represented by deputy public prosecutors Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, Abdul Malik Ayob, Zander Lim Wai Keong and B. Thavani, while lawyers Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal and Hamidi Mohd Noh, represented Ahmad Zahid.
The prosecution closed its case on Aug 11 after calling 18 witnesses in the trial that began on May 24, last year.

Among the prosecution witnesses called to testify were former Home Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Alwi Ibrahim and three former Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) directors Harry Lee Vui Khiun, Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani and David Tan Siong Sun.

On June 26, 2019, Zahid was charged in the Sessions Court here with seven charges of corruption over the VLN system scandal, and on July 31 of the same year, the court allowed Zahid’s application to transfer the case to the Shah Alam Sessions Court for it to be jointly heard with 33 other corruption charges, also in connection with the matter, made against Zahid.

All the cases were transferred to the Shah Alam High Court for hearing.

On the 33 charges, Zahid was alleged to have received bribes amounting to S$13.56 million from UKSB for himself as the then home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the one-stop centre service in China and the VLN system, as well as to maintain the contract agreement to supply the VLN integrated system to the same company by the Home Ministry.

He was charged with committing all the offences at Seri Satria, Precinct 16, Putrajaya, and Country Heights Kajang between October 2014 and March 2018.

The charges were framed under Section 16 (a)(B) of the MACC Act, which provides imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher upon conviction.

The Bagan Datuk member of parliament pleaded not guilty to 33 alternative charges framed under Section 165 of the Penal Code, where he was charged in his capacity as home minister with receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million in relation to the VLN system between 2014 and 2017.

On the other seven charges, he was alleged to have obtained for himself S$1.150 million, RM3.125 million, 15,000 Swiss Franc and US$15,000 from the same company, which he knew had a connection with his function as the then Home Affairs minister.

He was charged with committing the offences at a house in Country Heights, Kajang, between June 2015 and October –Bernama

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