Prosecution’s appeal against Zahid’s acquittal on VLN graft charges set on Jan 10, 2023

Prosecution’s appeal against Zahid’s acquittal on VLN graft charges set on Jan 10, 2023

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has fixed Jan 10, next year for another case management of the prosecution’s appeal against the decision of a High Court to acquit Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of 40 charges of corruption in connection with the foreign visa (VLN) system.

His lawyer Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, when contacted, said the court has given another case management date as the records of appeal is not ready. The prosecution’s appeal came up for case management for the first time today before Court of Appeal deputy registrar Norkamilah Aziz.

The prosecution filed a notice of appeal to the Court of Appeal on Sept 26, this year against the Shah Alam High Court’s decision to acquit and discharge the former Home Minister of all the charges after ruling that the prosecution had not made out a prima facie case against him.

In his decision delivered on Sept 24, this year, High Court judge Mohd Yazid Mustafa said he found that the notations of “Z” and “ZH” that appeared in Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB’s) ledger did not prove that Ahmad Zahid had received the money or gratification.

The judge (Justice Mohd Yazid) held that the key prosecution witnesses were unreliable and not credible.

The Umno president pleaded not guilty to 33 counts of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million from UKSB for himself as Home Minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of a one-stop centre (OSC) service in China and the VLN system, as well as to maintain its contract with the Home Ministry to supply the VLN integrated system.

According to the charge sheet, Ahmad Zahid was alleged to have committing those offences at Seri Satria, Precinct 16, Putrajaya and Country Heights, Kajang, between October 2014 and March 2018.

The charges were framed under Section 16 (a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, which provides for a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Ahmad Zahid also claimed trial to 33 alternative charges under Section 165 of the Penal Code, where he was charged in his capacity as a Home Minister with receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million in relation to the VLN system between 2014 and 2017.

For the other seven charges, he was alleged to have obtained for himself cash of S$1,150,000, RM3 million, 15,000 Swiss francs and US$15,000 from the same company, which he knew had a connection with his official functions.

He was charged for allegedly committing the offences at a house in Country Heights, Kajang, between June 2015 and October 2017. The seven charges were framed under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment of up to two years, a fine, or both, upon conviction.

— BERNAMA

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