Zahid’s corruption trial adjourned

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The Shah Alam High Court allowed an application by the defence in a corruption case involving Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in connection with the foreign visa system (VLN) to vacate today’s hearing.

Judge Mohd Yazid Mustafa granted the hearing to be vacated after Zahid’s counsel, Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, produced to the court a letter from a hospital stating his client’s condition and injuries.

“However, the hearing dates set on Sept 1 and 2 remain. It will also depend on Zahid’s condition. We can’t anticipate for now. How long he will take to recover,” said the judge.

“However, this is a case of public interest and the trial should continue soon.”

Earlier, Zaidi told the court that his client had been admitted to a private hospital after a fall in his house last Sunday.

At today’s proceeding, the prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin.

Zahid also did not attend hearing of his corruption case involving Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, and the court was informed that the Umno president had been hospitalised due to a back injury.

Following which, High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah ruled that a subpoena would be issued to Dr Mohd Shahir Anuar from Avisena Specialist Hospital in Shah Alam to explain the procedure to be carried out on Zahid and the duration needed for the accused to fully recover.

Zahid, 68, is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd as an 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 one-stop centre 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 alleged to have committed the offences at Seri Satria, Precinct 16, Putrajaya and in Country Heights, Kajang, between October 2014 and March 2018.

The charges framed under section 16 (a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 and can be punished under section 24(1) of the same act, provides a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine not less than five times of the value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher upon conviction.

For another seven charges, Zahid is alleged to have accepted S$1.15 miilion, RM3 million, €15,000 (RM75,660) and US$15,000 (RM62,110) in cash from the same company, which he knew had a connection with his function as then home minister.

He was charged with committing the offences at a house in Country Heights, between June 2015 and October 2017, under section 165 of the penal code, which carries a maximum jail term of two years or fine, or both, if found guilty.