Zahid walks free in foreign visa bribery case after High Court rules prosecution failed prima facie

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Zahid walks free in foreign visa bribery case after High Court rules prosecution failed prima facie

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Shah Alam High Court September 23, 2022. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

By Kenneth Tee

Friday, 23 Sep 2022 11:46 AM MYT

SHAH ALAM, Sept 23 — The High Court today acquitted Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of taking bribes from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB), the company awarded a government contract for a foreign visa system (VLN).

However, the Umno president is still on trial for another corruption case where he is accused of 47 criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering charges involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi, the charity organisation he founded.

Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa said the prosecution failed to successfully prove a prima facie case against Ahmad Zahid, who is also Bagan Datuk MP, on all 40 bribery charges.

In his ruling, Mohd Yazid said the testimonies by three key prosecution witnesses — former UKSB executives Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani and Harry Lee Vui Khiun, and former administrative manager David Tan Siong Sun — were unreliable and untrustworthy.

Ahmad Zahid faced 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from UKSB as 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.

He was also 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.

Ahmad Zahid, who was in the dock dressed in a white baju Melayu top and black trousers, appeared calm as the judge read out his two-hour long decision.

The public gallery immediately erupted with cries of “Alhamdullilah” (Arabic for praise be to God) when the judge made the no prima facie ruling.

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