Foreign visa system trial: Zahid ordered issuance of cover letter for extension of company’s contract

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Zahid is facing 40 charges of receiving bribes.

Bernama

The High Court was told today that Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had instructed his former senior private secretary to issue a cover letter to extend the implementation period of the Foreign Visa System (VLN) and EVisa to Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) for six years from 2019 to 2025.

Ninth witness, Datuk Muhd Khair Razman Mohamed Annuar, who is now deputy secretary-general of operations, Ministry of Human Resources, said he was instructed by the former deputy prime minister to issue the letter, dated February 14, 2017, to the Home Ministry Secretary-General.

“Along with the letter, I enclosed a letter from UKSB to Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid, with the title Extension of Implementation Period for VLN and EVisa System for Six Years from October 31, 2019, to 2025 Is In Line With The Development And Implementation Of The National Immigration Control System (SKIN), dated February 8, 2017,” he added.

He said this when reading out his witness statement during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Zander Lim Wai Keong.

During the hearing on December 22 last year, sixth prosecution witness, former Home Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Alwi Ibrahim told the court that he was unhappy with Ahmad Zahid’s decision to extend UKSB’s contract for the implementation of the VLN system because it was made too early as the expiry of the contract was still a long way to end.

Muhd Khair, 56, said Ahmad Zahid also instructed him to issue two more cover letters to the Home Ministry secretary-general, dated May 16 and June 16, 2017.

He said the cover letter dated May 16, 2017, was for an application to extend the implementation period of the One Stop Center (OSC) service contract for the Visa Facilitation Services in China for six years.

For the cover letter dated June 16, 2017 was on the proposed extension of the implementation period of the OSC service contract For Visa Facilitation Services in China for three years from May 15, 2018, to 2021.

Meanwhile, eighth witness Datuk Abdul Halim Mohammad, 55, said he had signed a cover letter dated October 24, 2016, which was forwarded to Alwi regarding the application for approval to extend the VLN and EVisa contracts for a period of six years to UKSB.

“This cover letter is a routine handled by the minister’s office to confirm that the letter has reached the minister’s office,” said Abdul Halim, who is Ahmad Zahid’s former political secretary.

Ahmad Zahid, 69, is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to SG$13.56 million from UKSB as inducement for himself, as an official of a public body, ie as Home Minister, by extending the contract of the company as the OSC service operator in OSC in China and the VLN system, as well as retaining the contract agreement to supply the VLN integrated system to the same company by the Home Ministry.

For the seven other charges, Ahmad Zahid is alleged, as the same minister, to have obtained for himself, SG$1,150,000, RM3 million, €15,000 and US$15,000 from UKSB that had links with his official duties.

The hearing before judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa continues tomorrow.

Zahid ordered extension of eVisa contract, court told KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi instructed his former senior private secretary to issue a cover letter for an extension of Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) Overseas Visa System (VLN) and eVisa contract for six years since 2019, the High Court heard today.

Datuk Muhd Khair Razman Mohamed Annuar who is the ninth prosecution witness said the Umno president instructed him to issue the letter to the Home Ministry secretary-general on Feb 14, 2017.

“In the letter, Zahid had minuted – Home Ministry is satisfied with UKSB’s services, please extend VLN & eVisa contract for six years until 2025,” he said during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Zander Lim Wai Keong.

On Dec 22, last year, former Home Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Alwi Ibrahim when testified as the sixth prosecution witness, said he was not satisfied with Zahid’s decision in extending UKSB’s contract as it was too early to do so.

Khair testified that the former deputy prime minister also instructed him to issue two more cover letters to the Home Ministry secretary-general on May 16 and June 16, 2017.

He said the letter dated May 16 is for an application to extend the One Stop Centre (OSC) service contract for Visa Facilities in China for six years, while the letter dated June 16 on the proposed extension of the service contract for three years starting May 15, 2018.

The trial before judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa continues tomorrow.

Zahid, 69, who is Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament, pleaded not guilty to 33 charges of receiving SGD 13.46 million from UKSB as an inducement to extend the company’s contract as the operator of an OSC 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 is also facing another seven charges for accepting SGD1,150,000, RM3,000,000, €15,000 and USD15,000 in cash from the same company which he knew had connection with his function as then Home Minister.