SHAH ALAM, Sept 6 — Prosecutors today urged the High Court to regard Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as a public servant and not a politician when he knowingly exceeded the scope of his official functions as former home minister to demand hundreds of thousands in Singapore dollars from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB).
In the oral submission following the close of the prosecution’s case, deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran sought to challenge the defence’s submission in court that cash payments received in the name of political donation were not illegal.
Noting that a public servant who occupied a public office would necessarily carry with it the powers conferred on the office or power flowing from the status one held in that office, Raja Rozela said the former would be presented with the opportunity to use it for corrupt motives.
“I humbly urge the court to focus on the fact that the accused here was a public servant. He was a public servant.
“Look at him as an officer of a public body. Do not look at him as a politician. He may be a politician, but at the material time he was holding the post of a minister.
“His wages are paid by the government using taxpayers’ money. He is paid to serve the public. not to have the public serve him by delivering him cash.
“I urge Your Lordship to seriously consider. Do not look at him as a politician, look at him as a mere public servant,” she said before High Court judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa.
Raja Rozela further emphasised that a minister has no business asking for money to be given to him on the pretext for one’s political career.
“He or she may be just a police inspector or an elected member of parliament holding top positions in the government, but if that public servant is allowed to accept a thing of value when they are prohibited from accepting or obtaining bribes under the existing anti-bribery laws, they could easily circumvent the prohibition by accepting the bribe in the shape of a gift, or as in our case, cash money disguised or labelled as political donation.
“Power has the tendency to corrupt,” she added.
She then urged the court to take into account of Section 165 of the Penal Code (under which Ahmad Zahid was charged) where the legal provision was enacted solely for the purpose of curbing and prevent public servants from receiving anything of value without consideration from any person who has official dealings with them.
In concluding her submission, Raja Rozela again stressed that the prosecution has adduced credible evidence on each and every essential ingredient of the offence which were unshaken despite cross-examination from the defence.
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 One Stop Centres 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, CHF15,000 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.