SHAH ALAM, Nov 23 — The hearing of the corruption case involving former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is facing 40 charges of allegedly receiving gratification in the implementation of Malaysia’s foreign visa system (VLN), will begin on April 12 next year at the High Court here.
Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said said the hearing was earlier fixed last October 12, but postponed due to the implementation of the conditional movement control order (CMCO) to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“An email was received from the court to inform that, as ordered by High Court judge Datuk Noorin Badaruddin, the hearing dates for the case have been set for April 2021, from 12 to 15, 19, 20 to 22 and 26 to 28.
“The court will also continue to hear the case in May on May 3 to 6, 24, 25, 27 and 31 and on June 1 to 3, 2021,” he said through Whatsapp.
Ahmad Zahid, 67, had pleaded not guilty to 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd as an inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant, then as the Home Minister, to extend the company’s contract as the operator of the One-Stop Centre (OSC) in China and the VLN system, as well as to maintain the agreement with the company to supply VLN integrated system paraphernalia.
The Umno president, represented by lawyers Hamidi Mohd Noh and Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, was charged with committing the offences at Seri Satria, Precinct 16, Putrajaya and in Country Heights, Kajang, between October 2014 and March 2018.
The charges were framed under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which provides an imprisonment for up to 20 years and fine of not less than five times the amount of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
The Bagan Datuk Member of Parliamant also pleaded not guilty to 33 alternative charges under Section 165 of the Penal Code, where he was charged, as a civil servant, namely the Home Minister, having received bribes amounting to S$13.56 million in relation to the VLN system between 2014 and 2017.
For the seven other charges, Ahmad Zahid was accused as a civil servant, of corruptly accepting S$1,150,000; RM3,000,000; €15,000; and US$15,000 in cash from the same company which he knew had connection with his function as then Home Affairs Minister.
He was charged with committing the offences at a house in Country Heights, Kajang between June 2015 and October 2017. — Bernama