Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Zahid on sick leave, VLN graft case postponed again

The trial has been pushed to Sept 28.

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The Shah Alam High Court today allowed the request by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to postpone his corruption trial on the foreign visa system (VLN) as he is still on medical leave.

Judge Mohd Yazid Mustafa said the medical certificate submitted by the defence team showed that Zahid was on sick leave until Sept 4.

He said the court also took note of the fact that Zahid’s doctor, Dr Mohd Shahir Anuar from the Avisena Specialist Hospital in Shah Alam, had appeared before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah to explain the former deputy prime minister’s medical condition.

“Based on the contents of the MC, the court accepts that the accused is not fit to return to duty until Sept 4,” Yazid said.

“The court appreciates the commitment shown by the accused (in attending court) and asks that the same commitment be continued in the days of hearing.”

The court also set Sept 28, Oct 22, Nov 18 to 19 and Dec 20 to 24 to continue the trial of Zahid who faces 40 charges of corruption related to the VLN.

“The court wishes to stress and remind all parties that the dates set have been agreed to by all, and asks for cooperation on the dates in question so that the case can proceed,” Yazid said, adding that delays would not be allowed.

Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin had earlier asked that the accused as well as any party involved in court proceedings obtain a medical certificate from a government hospital.

“This is because Your Honour is aware of MCs from private hospitals which state at the bottom that they cannot be used for court proceedings,” he said.

He also thanked Zahid for showing his commitment by attending today’s proceeding, saying he hoped such commitment would continue.

Lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh, representing Zahid, had updated the court about his client’s condition and asked that the trial scheduled for today and tomorrow be vacated as Zahid was on sick leave until Sept 4.

Hamidi also said that Zahid had attended court today despite being on medical leave in order to show his commitment to the trial proceedings.

Zahid, 68, is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd as an inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant and home minister at the time to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the one-stop centre in China and the VLN system as well as to maintain the agreement to supply VLN integrated system paraphernalia to the same company by the home ministry.

He allegedly committed the offences at Seri Satria, Precinct 16, Putrajaya and in Country Heights, Kajang, between October 2014 and March 2018.

The charges framed under Section 16 (a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, punishable under Section 24(1) of the same act, provide for a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

For another seven charges, Zahid was charged as home minister with accepting S$1,150,000, RM3,000,000, €15,000 (RM75,663) and US$15,000 (RM62,115) in cash from the same company which he knew had a connection with his function as home minister.

He was charged with committing the offences at a house in Country Heights between June 2015 and October 2017, under Section 165 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum jail term of two years, a fine or both upon conviction.

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