The Kuala Lumpur High Court today was informed that the Home Ministry (MOHA) had allowed Datasonic Technologies Sdn Bhd (DTSB) to resupply chips for Malaysian passports despite the company’s previous poor performance.
Finance Ministry (MOF) Procurement Department former deputy secretary Uzailee Abdul Latif, 58, said Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was home minister at the time, had sent a letter to MOF on August 20, 2014.
“In the letter, the ministry stated that the performance of DTSB was unsatisfactory, as there was often a delay in the supplying of passport chips which affected the performance of the Immigration Department (JIM) when the supply was cut off.
“In the same letter, the ministry said it wished to maintain the existing contract with Percetakan Keselamatan Nasional Sdn Bhd (PKN) and chips provided by IRIS based on their outstanding performance.
“The conclusion from the letter was that the ministry did not intend to approve the company (DTSB) for new acquisitions,” he said, adding that DTSB had obtained the contract to supply the passport chips since 2012.
Reading out his witness statement in court, Uzailee said on November 27, 2014, he attended a meeting held among DTSB, MOF, MOHA and JIM and in that discussion, DTSB made a cost comparison, saying if they were awarded the project, the government can save on existing costs.
“As a result of these discussions, the MOF through MOHA requested DTSB to provide additional information to consider DTSB’s application to apply for the passport chip supply project,” he said on the 14th day of the trial against Zahid.
The former deputy prime minister is facing 47 charges involving millions of ringgit in funds from Yayasan Akalbudi and corruption in connection with passport chip supply contracts with several companies.
The 30th prosecution witness said in June 2016, JIM faced a supply shortage for Malaysian passports and a meeting was held to discuss a resolution to the issue with DTSB and PKN on August 15, 2016.
“Following the meeting, the MOF issued a letter of warning on the matter.
“In a letter dated August 30, 2016, the MOF approved the appointment of DTSB for the supply of passports for five years, or 12.5 million chips to be embedded in the Malaysian passport’s polycarbonate biodata page to the Malaysian government via direct negotiation,” he said.
When asked by lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh, representing Zahid, during cross-examination on who was the finance minister who approved the application (for the project to supply passport chips by DTSB) at the time, the witness replied “Najib Razak”.
Uzailee, meanwhile, said the negotiations for the procurement of the project from DTSB were under the jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry, which was then led by Najib.
“MOHA can only provide acknowledgment to the MOF on whether they agree or not (to the application). So, in this case, MOHA agreed to and supported the company’s application,” he said during re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Gan Peng Kun.
Zahid, 67, faces 47 charges, 12 of them for criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.
The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.
Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Four
Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Three
Nov 19, Zahid’s Trial: Day Two