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Ahmad Zahid’s VLN corruption trial begins tomorrow

23 May 2021 / 18:34 H.

SHAH ALAM: The corruption trial of former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is facing 40 charges over the Foreign Visa System (VLN), will commence at the High Court here tomorrow, with the prosecution set to call two or three witnesses to testify.

The trial will be heard before Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa at 9 am.

“Yes, the trial will go on tomorrow. We expect to call two or three witnesses,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Raya Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, who will be leading the prosecution team, said in a text message.

Lawyers Hisyam Teh Poh Teik and Hamidi Mohd Noh are representing Ahmad Zahid, 68.

Prior to this, Raja Rozela had informed the court that the prosecution will be calling 15 witnesses to testify in the trial.

This will be the UMNO president’s second trial following the ongoing hearing at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in which he is facing 47 criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering charges involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

In this VLN case, Ahmad Zahid pleaded not guilty to 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to SGD13.56 million from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd as an inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant then as Home Minister to extend the contract of company as the operator of One Stop Centre (OSC) 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 (MACC) Act 2009 and can be punished under Section 24(1) of the same act, provides a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine not less than five times of 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 as Home Minister for receiving bribes amounting to SGD13.56 million (RM 42.1 million) in relation to the VLN system between 2014 to 2017.

For another seven charges, Ahmad Zahid was charged as Home Minister for accepting SGD1,150,000 (RM 3.5 million), RM3,000,000, EUR 15,000 (RM 176,000) and USD15,000 (RM 62,000) in cash from the same company which he knew had connection with his function as then 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 or fine or both if found guilty. — Bernama

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