Zahid told officer to get passport chip contract passed, says witness

(FMT) – Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi instructed his then home ministry’s officer to act on an application by Datasonic Group Bhd to obtain a government contract to supply passport chips, the High Court heard today.

Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Mohd Hizar Farhan Abdul Razi said Zahid had penned down his written instructions on Datasonic’s letters to the government.

In the written instructions, Zahid told then home ministry senior officer Abd Aziz Md Nor to seek permission from the Treasury for Datasonic to continue passport chips supply for another five years on grounds that “the (chips) supply has reached its peak”, as well as to issue the letter of award to Datasonic as soon as possible.

“Based on Aziz’s evidence, priority was given to the passport chip’s contract application after he received a letter from the home minister’s (Zahid) office on Sept 8, 2014,” Hizar said.

Hizar also told the court that after Datasonic was awarded the project, the country experienced a shortage of passports in 2016.

“Datasonic director Chew Ben Ben met the accused (Zahid) at his home on Sept 16, 2016 to provide an explanation.

“Later, sometime around April 2017, Chew also met him at the DPM’s (deputy prime minister) official residence. A sum of RM6 million, in two cheques, were paid to the accused,” he added.

Zahid’s lawyer, Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, during cross examination, pressed the MACC officer on Chew’s testimony. The lawyer said Chew had told the court that the RM6 million corruption charges had no basis.

Hizar said he was not aware of Chew’s testimony.

Zaidi then pointed out that Zahid had instructed the passport chip contract’s application to be expedited, as the country experienced a shortage in the supply of passports in 2016.

“The shortage took place after the contract was awarded to Datasonic, not before,” Hizar said.

Deputy public prosecutor Gan Peng Kun asked the witness whether the passport chip contract would have been given to Datasonic if Zahid had not agreed to it.

The officer said the contract would not have been given if not for Zahid’s agreement.

Zahid is facing 12 charges of criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering, totalling RM117 million.

The hearing continues before High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.