Three key prosecution witnesses lacked credibility, says judge in Zahid trial

SHAH ALAM: Among the main reasons why the prosecution's case against Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi failed was because the three main witnesses lacked credibility, says High Court judge Justice Mohd Yazid Mustafa.

The former deputy prime minister walked away a free man on Friday (Sept 23) after the Shah Alam High Court absolved him of all 40 graft charges in the foreign visa system (VLN) case.

Justice Mohd Yazid, in his judgement, held that the prosecution had not successfully established a case against the defendant.

"I find the three key witnesses (UKSB directors VK Lee and Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani as well as its former administrative manager David Tan) called by the prosecution were not reliable and neither were they trustworthy or credible," he said when reading his judgement, which took slightly over two hours.

Justice Mohd Yazid also said he doubted the credibility of a ledger – which was tendered as evidence – as there was some missing data regarding the inflow and outflow of funds allegedly delivered to Ahmad Zahid.

He added the purported money entered in the ledger was also not reported in the company's internal audit nor reflected in UKSB's audited accounts.

The judge also said he found that the code names "Z" and "ZH", said to denote Ahmad Zahid in the ledger, were insufficient to prove that the accused had received the money.

In the ledger, Tan had used code names for Zahid, such as Monster, Mon, YB, Young Boy, ZH and Z.

The judge said Tan did not explain why the code names were given to Ahmad Zahid.

"Having considered the evidence put forth by the prosecution in totality and in great detail and having rejected the evidence of the key witnesses for want of credibility and reliability, there are unsolved and unanswered doubts as to whether the money even existed and who delivered the money to the accused," said Justice Mohd Yazid.

He added that he was of the view that the particulars of the person who purportedly delivered the cash to the accused ought to have been mentioned in all the charges levelled against Ahmad Zahid.

"The absence of some important details as to who delivered the money to the accused amounts to a serious prejudice to the accused in the preparation of the defence," he said.

He said that another UKSB director, Datuk Fadzil Ahmad, who had a key role in securing the contract for the company had also testified that he was unaware of the funds being delivered to Ahmad Zahid.

In addition to all these, there was also no corroborative evidence such as CCTV footage to prove that Ahmad Zahid had received the monies from UKSB.

Coming to the defence, Justice Mohd Yazid rebutted the argument put forth by them that Ahmad Zahid was facing selective prosecution.

He said it was the Attorney General's discretion as to whom he wanted to charge and that Ahmad Zahid had a capable defence team led by Hisyam Teh Poh Teik who was a senior criminal lawyer.

The judge said he also did not accept the line of argument revolving around the subject of political donations as if this was the case it must be evidence that the monies were solely spent for that purpose.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid, 69, faced 33 charges for allegedly receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56mil (RM44mil) from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB), during his tenure as home minister, in order to extend the company's contract to continue operating the one-stop centre in China and the VLN.

The alleged graft was also to ensure that the contract agreement for the supply of the VLN integrated system by the company was maintained.

He was also slapped with seven additional charges for allegedly procuring for himself S$1.15mil, RM3mil, 15,000 Swiss francs and US$15,000.

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