SHAH ALAM, Dec 23 — Citing discomfort from an unspecified illness, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was allowed to postpone his corruption trial in connection with the Foreign Visa System (VLN) despite being in the court complex here this morning.
It is understood that Ahmad Zahid was present in his vehicle parked within the court compound but did not exit to personally address the High Court.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said lawyers representing the Bagan Datuk MP had earlier applied to vacate today and tomorrow’s hearings as their client was unwell.
“Lawyers asked for postponement since they claimed the accused is sick even though he is present here in the court compound.
“So, on medical grounds, the judge allowed for postponement for two (hearing) dates that is today and tomorrow,” she said briefly when met after both parties informed the trial judge in chambers.
The nature of Ahmad Zahid’s illness was not known.
Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa later agreed to adjourn the trial for both days and schedule proceedings to resume on February 3 next year.
Mohd Yazid also fixed new trial dates in March 7-8, April 1, May 10-13, 17-20, 30, 31 and June 13-16.
He also fixed August 24 to decide if there was prima facie.
Previously, Ahmad Zahid also turned up at the High Court despite being on medical leave for a cervical problem in September.
At that time, his lawyer told the court that Ahmad Zahid was present voluntarily, to demonstrate his “commitment” to uphold the judicial process.
In this VLN case, Ahmad Zahid pleaded not guilty to 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from UKSB as an inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant then as home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of OSC in China and the VLN.
He allegedly committed the offences at Seri Satria, Precinct 16, Putrajaya and in Country Heights, Kajang, between October 2014 and March 2018.
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 S$13.56 million in relation to the VLN system between 2014 and 2017.
For another seven charges, Ahmad Zahid was charged as home minister for accepting S$1,150,000, RM3,000,000, €15,000 and US$15,000 in cash from the same company which he knew had a 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 a fine, or both if found guilty.