The Shah Alam High Court today acquitted former home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of 40 charges of corruption in connection with the foreign visa (VLN) system.
Judge Mohd Yazid Mustafa ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the Umno president for all 40 charges.
Reading out his judgment, Yazid said three of the key prosecution witnesses had been unreliable and not credible.
He named former Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) directors Harry Lee Vui Khiun, Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani and David Tan Siong Sun, who were the 15th, 16th and 17th prosecution witness, respectively.
Yazid said the court found that the notations of "Z" and "ZH" that appeared in UKSB’s ledger did not prove that Zahid had received the money or gratification.
"I further find that even though there was a suggestion that the accused had received political donations amounting to RM200,000 on two occasions, there is no sufficient evidence of particulars before the court for me to come up with any amended charge," he added.
During the trial of his case which began on May 24, 2021, Zahid pleaded not guilty to 33 counts 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 a one-stop centre (OSC) service in China and the VLN system, as well as to maintain its contract with the home ministry to supply the VLN integrated system.
He was charged with committing these 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 Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, which provides 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.
The Bagan Datuk MP also pleaded not guilty to 33 alternative charges under Section 165 of the Penal Code, where he was charged in his capacity as a home minister with receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million in relation to the VLN system between 2014 and 2017.
For the other seven charges, he was alleged to have obtained for himself cash of S$1,150,000, RM3 million, 15,000 Swiss francs and US$15,000 from the same company, which he knew had a connection with his official functions.
He was charged with committing the offences at a house in Country Heights, Kajang, between June 2015 and October 2017.
The seven charges were framed under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment of up to two years, a fine, or both, upon conviction.