Saturday, July 2, 2022

Zahid pleads not guilty to amended charge in VLN graft case

The amendment involves a change of date, from April 2017 to March 27, 2018.

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Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today pleaded not guilty to an amended charge of corruption in relation to the foreign visa system (VLN).

Judge Mohd Yazid Mustafa ordered for the amended charge to be read out to Zahid, 69, after allowing deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin’s application to amend the second charge, which involves a change of date from April 2017 to March 27, 2018.

Zahid pleaded not guilty after the amended charge was read out to him through an interpreter.

In the amended charge, Zahid is charged as the home minister at the time with obtaining for himself RM3 million in cash from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) in connection with his official functions.

He is alleged to have committed the offence at No. 389, Jalan Bayu Nyaman, Country Heights, Kajang, on March 27, 2018.

The amended charge, framed under Section 165 of the Penal Code, provides for imprisonment of up to two years, a fine, or both, upon conviction.

Zahid faces 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from UKSB as an inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant and the then home minister 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.

On another seven counts, Zahid was charged as the home minister with obtaining for himself S$1,150,000, RM3 million, €15,000 and US$15,000 in cash from the same company in connection with his official work.

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

The trial before Yazid continues.

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