Zahid Hamidi charged with taking RM12.9m bribes over visa system, China centre

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 26, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 26, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — Bagan Datuk MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi pled not guilty today to seven charges of receiving S$4.24 million (RM12.91 million) in bribes in relation to the contract extensions of both the Overseas Visa System and One Stop Centre in China.

The former deputy prime minister — who was also in charge of the Home Ministry under the Najib administration — was charged under Section 16 (a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 before Sessions Court Judge Azura Alwi.

He is accused of receiving the kickbacks from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd, the contractor who managed the One Stop Centre in China and Overseas Visa System, in exchange for extending its contract — an offence punishable under Section 24(1) of the same Act.

According to the charge sheets, Zahid received two payments of S$300,000 ― March 28 and May 4 ― in 2017, two payments totalling S$1.04 million each ― September and November ― in 2017, and three payments of S$520,000 ― January 10, February 12 and March 2 ― in 2018.

The offences were allegedly committed in his capacity as home minister between March 2017 and March 2018 at the deputy prime minister’s official residence in Seri Satria, Presint 16, Putrajaya.

Section 16(a)(B) concerns a public officer soliciting or receiving or agreeing to receive gratification, which carries a maximum jail sentence of 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the value of the bribe, RM10,000, or whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Mukhzany Fariz Mohd Mokhtar prosecuted while Zahid was represented by lawyer Kitson Foong.

The judge set bail at RM200,000 with one surety.

The court also fixed July 31 for mention.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 26, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 26, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Several Umno seniors were present in the courtroom when Zahid entered, including former prime minister and Pekan MP Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the party’s Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki and supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam.

However, Najib left before proceedings began.

MACC chief Latheefa Koya and the commission’s deputy chief in charge of operations Datuk Seri Azam Baki were also present.

When met by reporters after the proceeding, Latheefa described the allegations as serious offences involving an individual who had formerly served as a government official and deputy prime minister.

“This is not a normal corruption case as this involves a former leader when it happened. The sum involved is very big and hence it gives an impact to public interests as it involves millions of ringgit,” she said, adding that she and senior officers had come to observe Zahid's proceeding.

MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 26, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 26, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Zahid, who is Umno president, has currently taken leave from party duties.

He has already been arraigned on 47 other charges, to which he has claimed trial — 27 for money laundering, 13 for criminal breach of trust and eight for corruption.

He is expected to face more corruption charges at the Sessions Court in Shah Alam, Selangor tomorrow.

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