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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Prosecution closes case in Zahid’s graft trial after calling 18 witnesses


Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is charged with 33 counts of receiving bribes amounting to millions from UKSB to extend the firm’s contract as the operator of the one-stop centre in China and the foreign visa system. (Bernama pic)

SHAH ALAM: The prosecution has closed its case in the corruption trial of former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi after calling 18 witnesses.

It had also tendered 107 exhibits in its attempt to prove a prima facie case against Zahid, who was also the home minister from 2013 to 2018.

Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Raja Rozela Raja Toran, who is leading the prosecution team, told trial judge Yazid Mustafa that it would offer 27 witnesses should Zahid’s defence be called.

Yazid thanked all the DPPs and Zahid’s lawyers for their cooperation in ensuring the prosecution’s case was completed.

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The prosecution’s case began on May 25 last year.

The defence will make oral submissions on Sept 1 and 2, and the prosecution on Sept 5 and 8.

Zahid, the Umno president and Bagan Datuk MP, is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from UKSB as the then home minister to extend the firm’s contract as the operator of the one-stop centre in China and the foreign visa (VLN) system as well as to maintain the contract agreement for the supply of the VLN integrated system.

He is also accused of another seven counts of obtaining for himself S$1.15 million, RM3 million, 15,000 Swiss francs and US$15,000 from the same company in connection with his official duties.

He is charged with committing all the offences at Seri Satria in Precinct 16, Putrajaya, and at Country Heights, Kajang, between October 2014 and March 2018.

No statement from Hishammuddin, says MACC

Cross-examined earlier today, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer V Mahendran told lawyer Ahmad Zaidi Zainal he did not record any statement from former home minister Hishammuddin Hussein (2009-2013).

He said this despite Hishammuddin’s name being mentioned in an MACC report that triggered an investigation in September 2018.

The report, which was tendered as a court exhibit, revealed that former UKSB diretor Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani claimed that bribes were paid to Hishammuddin, Zahid and home ministry officials to obtain and extend UKSB’s contract as the operator of the one-stop centre in China and the VLN system.

V Mahendran.

Mahendran said Hishammuddin’s statement was not taken as his name did not appear in a ledger kept by UKSB’s former administrative manager, David Tan.

“My probe covered Hishammuddin but no statement was recorded from him as there was no evidence of bribery,” he said.

Tan had previously disclosed that between 2014 and 2018, payments had been made to various ministers, politicians and government servants, which were recorded in a spreadsheet on his laptop.

Mahendran dismissed suggestions by Zaidi that Zahid’s case was selective prosecution and a politically motivated persecution.

He also disagreed with Zaidi that Zahid only received a total of RM100,000 twice from UKSB.

Zahid’s legal team is advancing the defence that the money received from UKSB was a political donation.

Re-examined by DPP Zander Lim, Mahendran said the bribes taken by Zahid had been listed in his witness statements which was read out yesterday. -FMT

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