SHAH ALAM: Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi expressed his gratitude for the High Court’s decision today, which acquitted and discharged him of 40 corruption charges in connection with the Foreign Visa System (VLN).

Ahmad Zahid, 69, said he had believed in his innocence all along, and that the decision showed that he had been vindicated by the court and justice had been served.

“However, I have to accept this test... I remain steadfast and confident that I have never committed those offences. And as Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman and UMNO president, this is the success of BN and UMNO struggle,” he told reporters after the proceedings.

Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa acquitted Ahmad Zahid after finding that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against him at the end of their case.

“I have been humiliated and ‘exposed’ with various comments and punished by the ‘court of public opinion’ first. But Alhamdulillah, on this Friday, the chief of all days, we witnessed that the law had been upheld,” said Ahmad Zahid.

The Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament also expressed his gratitude to his lawyers led by Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik who have carried out their duties in a professional and excellent manner.

He also thanked his wife, children, family, UMNO leadership, and members for their endless support.

Ahmad Zahid was charged with 33 counts of receiving bribes amounting to SG$13.56 million from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd for himself as Home Minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the one-stop centre service in China and the VLN system, as well as to maintain its contract agreement with the Home Ministry for the supply of the VLN integrated system.

On another seven counts, he was charged with obtaining for himself cash of SG$1,150,000, RM3.125 million, 15,000 Swiss Franc 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 Seri Satria, Precinct 16, Putrajaya, and Country Heights Kajang between October 2014 and March 2018. - Bernama