- Advertisement -

Prosecution closes Zahid graft case on foreign visa system

The court will hear the oral submissions before deciding whether to acquit the former home minister or order him to enter his defence.

2 minute read
Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi gestures upon his arrival at the Shah Alam High Court today. Photo: Bernama
Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi gestures upon his arrival at the Shah Alam High Court today. Photo: Bernama

The prosecution in the corruption trial of former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who faces 40 charges in connection with the foreign visa system (VLN), closed its case today after calling 18 witnesses.

Deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran, who led the prosecution team, told High Court judge Mohd Yazid Mustafa that the prosecution closed its case after the 18th witness, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer V Mahendran, 38, finished testifying.

Yazid then ordered the defence to file its written submissions on Aug 29 and the prosecution on Sept 5.

The judge also set Sept 1 and 2, and 5 to 8 to hear their oral submissions before deciding whether to acquit Zahid or order him to enter his defence for the 40 charges.

Raja Rozela told the court that the prosecution had offered 27 witnesses to the defence, including former deputy secretary-general (control and enforcement) of the home ministry Wahab Mohd Yasin, deputy director-general (development II) of the Public Private Partnership Unit Raja Muhammad Azhan Shah Raja Muhammad and MACC officer S Vijaya Kumar, who is also the complainant in the case.

Earlier, Mahendran told the court that he did not record the testimony of Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein because there were no witness statements or information in the UKSB ledger regarding payments to the politician.

He said this when cross-examined by lawyer Ahmad Zaidi Zainal on why he had not recorded Hishammuddin's testimony even though the defence minister's name was on the MACC complaint form.
Zaidi: Yesterday, you (Mahendran) told the court that the investigation focused only on Zahid.

Mahendran: Disagree, the focus was on the VLN and OSC (one-stop centre) contracts involving home ministry officials and ministers.

He said the ministers he was referring to were Hishammuddin and Zahid.

He also disagreed with the lawyer's suggestion that Zahid only received RM100,000 twice from UKSB and that the testimony by the main witnesses in the case could not be trusted.

The witnesses referred to were former UKSB administrative manager David Tan Siong Sun and former UKSB directors Harry Lee Vui Khiun and Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani.
In the trial, which started on May 24, 2021, the prosecution was also represented by Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, Abdul Malik Ayob, Zander Lim Wai Keong and B Thavani while the lawyers appearing for Zahid included Hisyam Teh Poh Teik and Hamidi Mohd Noh.

Zahid, 69, faces 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million from UKSB for himself as home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the OSC 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.

On another seven counts, he is charged with obtaining for himself S$1,150,000, RM3 million, 15,000 euros and US$15,000 from the same company which had official links with his official duty.

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