Ahmad Zahid to know fate on VLN Case on Sept 23

KLANG: Umno president and Bagan Datuk MP Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will know on Friday (Sept 23) if he will have to face yet another lengthy trial for graft.

If the Shah Alam High court judge Justice Mohd Yazid Mustafa decides the prosecution has failed in proving a prima facie case against Ahmad Zahid for graft allegations related to the Foreign Visa System (VLN) case, he will walk away a free man.

The former deputy prime minister had been charged under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 which carries a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine not less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000 whichever is higher.

He was also levelled with 33 alternative charges under Section 165 of the Penal Code.

Ahmad Zahid was accused of receiving bribes in monthly instalments, in his capacity as then home minister, from a company Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) in order to extend the company’s contract to continue operating the one-stop centre in China and the VLN.

He was also accused of obtaining for himself S$1.15mil, RM3mil, 15,000 Swiss francs and US$15,000.

He was slapped with 40 charges for all the allegations levelled against him.

The prosecution team had argued that, as a public servant, Ahmad Zahid had no business receiving funds from outside parties and claiming it was political funding.

It had also said that political funding might be a one-off payment but not one which is made on a regular basis.

Ahmad Zahid's defence team claimed that their client was being unfairly targeted.

The defence had asked why others who had received the funds had not been prosecuted and only Ahmad Zahid had been dragged to court.

UKSB directors had testified that the funds given to Ahmad Zahid were meant for political funding and others who had received similar funds were former prime ministers Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman among others.

The prosecution is represented by deputy public prosecutors Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, Abdul Malik Ayob, Zander Lim Wai Keong and B. Thavani, while lawyers Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal and Hamidi Mohd Noh, represented Ahmad Zahid.

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