SHAH ALAM, Aug 10 — Former home minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi received a total of RM3 million from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) as campaign funding for the 14th general election in May 2018, the High Court heard in his ongoing foreign visa system contract corruption trial today.
Testifying as the 18th prosecution witness, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) senior enforcer V. Mahendran said the RM3 million given by UKSB was one of seven one-off payments made to Ahmad Zahid between June 2015 and March 2018.
As for the RM3 million, Mahendran revealed that the cash payment was made to Ahmad Zahid at the latter's private residence in Country Heights, Kajang Selangor on March 27, 2018 — less than three months before GE14 on May 9, 2018.
Ahmad Zahid was Umno acting deputy president at that time, and has been Bagan Datuk MP since 1995.
Mahendran also said there were other one-off payments made to Ahmad Zahid. Among them was RM125,000 for Hari Raya celebrations in June 2015, S$1 million (RM3.11 million) for Umno's 71st anniversary celebration in May 2017 and S$30,000 (RM93,300) for Ahmad Zahid’s wife's birthday celebration.
Mahendran did not specify the purpose of three other one-off payments of S$120,000, 15,000 Swiss francs, and US$15,000 received between 2015 and 2016 respectively.
He also confirmed the total cash payments received by Ahmad Zahid to be S$13.56 million between 2014 and 2018.
"During the course of investigation against UKSB directors, they confirmed the monthly cash payments made by UKSB to Ahmad Zahid between 2014 and 2018.
"The money given to Datuk Seri Zahid is in the form of cash, with Datuk Seri Zahid requesting it be made using Singapore dollars," Mahendran said.
Previously, the prosecution’s 15th witness and former UKSB director Harry Lee Vui Khiun told the court that Ahmad Zahid had previously indicated the need for contribution to his political fund and asked for assistance in matters relating to Umno after getting to know the Umno leader after the 13th general election in May 2013.
Earlier, Mahendran also testified in court that a graft probe against UKSB and alleged bribes paid to government officials in relation to the awarding of a foreign visa system (VLN) contract commenced following a complaint lodged by personnel from the enforcement agency itself.
Mahendran said he was instructed by his superior — a deputy director of the agency's Special Operations Division (BOK) — to take on the case as an investigating officer on September 27, 2018.
"The complaint was opened and prepared by assistant enforcer S. Vijaya Kumar who is also the complainant in this case.
"An investigation paper was subsequently opened under Section 16(b)(B) of the MACC Act," he said in his witness statement.
Section 16(b)(B) of the MACC Act refers to the offence of accepting gratification.
Following the complaint, Mahendran said MACC launched an operation dubbed 'Ops Visa' that constituted several other officers from BOK and himself.
According to Mahendran, the main objectives of 'Ops Visa' was to procure documents under the possession of the Home Ministry, the Immigration Department and UKSB including the identification of witnesses involved.
Those documents were related to the processing and issuance of visas for tourists from the People's Republic of China between 2010 and 2018.
Ahmad Zahid is facing 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 and the then home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the OSCs 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.
Ahmad Zahid was charged with another seven counts as home minister who obtained S$1.15 million, RM3 million, S₣15,000 and US$15,000 in cash from the same company for himself in connection with his official work.
He is accused of committing all the offences at Seri Satria, Presint 16, Putrajaya, and Country Heights, Kajang, between October 2014 and March 2018.