Zahid VLN's acquittal, AGC has yet to decide representation

Can prosecution overturn Zahid's acquittal?

29 Jan 2024 11:58am
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi - BERNAMA FILE PIX
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi - BERNAMA FILE PIX

PUTRAJAYA - The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has yet to decide on Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s representation for the prosecution to drop its appeal against his acquittal of 40 charges of corruption in connection with the foreign visa system (VLN) contract.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Abdul Malik Ayob informed the matter to the Court of Appeal three-member bench, chaired by Justice Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, during the case management today.

Sitting with Justice Hadhariah are Justices Datuk Azman Abdullah and Datuk S.M.Komathy.

After being informed of the matter, Justice Hadhariah then maintained March 18, which had been set earlier, for hearing the prosecution’s appeal.

The deputy prime minister was not in court as his presence was exempted during the case management.

Zahid submitted the representation to the AGC in January last year.

The Shah Alam High Court on Sept 23 2022, acquitted and discharged Zahid, of all the charges after ruling that the prosecution had not made out a prima facie case against him. The prosecution then filed its notice of appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The Umno president had pleaded not guilty to 33 counts of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) for himself as home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of a one-stop centre (OSC) service in China and the VLN system, as well as to maintain its contract with the home ministry to supply the VLN integrated system.

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The former Home Minister was alleged to have committed the offences at Seri Satria, Precinct 16, Putrajaya and Country Heights, Kajang between October 2014 and March 2018.

Zahid also claimed trial to 33 alternative charges under Section 165 of the Penal Code, where he was charged in his capacity as the Home Minister with receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million concerning the VLN system between 2014 and 2017.

For the other seven charges, he was alleged to have obtained for himself cash of S$1,150,000, RM3 million, 15,000 Swiss francs and US$15,000 from the same company, which he knew had connection with his official functions.

Zahid allegedly committed the offences at a house in Country Heights, Kajang between June 2015 and October 2017.

In its petition of appeal filed on Dec 29 2022, the prosecution submitted 14 reasons focusing on the findings of fact and law made by the High Court judge on the question of whether there was bribery in the giving and receiving of money in the case. - BERNAMA

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