SHAH ALAM, Aug 25 — The High Court today insisted that Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption trial in connection with the Foreign Visa System (VLN) must resume at the soonest as it was a public interest case, after granting an adjournment to Ahmad Zahid for being medically absent following his hospitalisation and scheduled medical procedure at a private hospital over a neck injury sustained last week.
In allowing the adjournment of Ahmad Zahid’s trial hearing today, trial judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa insisted that court proceedings must resume on the next available hearing dates previously fixed on September 1 and September 2.
“After taking into consideration the medical letter and counsel’s explanation, the court will allow today’s hearing to be adjourned.
“I was made to understand that the accused will undergo an operation but as to how long the recovery period is subjected to the health and necessity which will be affirmed through a doctor’s confirmation.
“This is a public interest case and the court wishes for both parties (prosecution and defence) would be able to come to an agreement on further hearing dates for the case to resume at the soonest,” he said.
Mohd Yazid also said the court will maintain the current hearing dates in September for now as it was not able to anticipate Ahmad Zahid’s circumstances at the moment.
Earlier, defence lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal informed the court that his client had been admitted to a private hospital on August 22 due to a fall last week.
Ahmad Zaidi also produced a medical letter undersigned by the attending physician which had noted Ahmad Zahid’s circumstances.
In the doctor’s letter, Ahmad Zahid has been admitted to Avisena Specialist Hospital in Shah Alam for treatment, under the care of a specialist named Dr Mohd Shahir Anuar.
Ahmad Zaidi also told the court that the defence team will be attending a subpoena hearing at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur later this evening, after the physician was summoned to find out the nature of Ahmad Zahid’s injury and prognosis in another ongoing criminal trial.
Yesterday, High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah issued a subpoena for Dr Mohd Shahir to present himself in court today at 3.30pm after Ahmad Zahid’s corruption case involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds was suspended following his hospitalisation.
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 S$13.56 million (RM42 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.
For another seven charges, Ahmad Zahid was charged as home minister for accepting S$1,150,000, RM3,000,000, €15,000 (RM75,663) and US$15,000 (RM62,115) in cash from the same company which he knew had connection with his function as then home minister.