Zahid to know fate on Sept 23

(The Star) – Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will know on Sept 23 if he can walk away a free man or would have to defend himself against allegations of graft in the Foreign Visa System (VLN) case.

High Court judge Justice Mohd Yazid Mustafa, who set the date to deliver his decision based on whether the prosecution had successfully proven a prima facie case against the accused, also directed both the prosecution and defence teams to file notes of their submissions by Sept 13.

Yesterday marked the end of both parties’ oral submissions after the prosecution closed its case.

Ahmad Zahid, 69, was charged with 33 counts of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56mil (RM44mil) from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) during his tenure as home minister in order to extend the company’s contract to continue operating the one-stop centre in China and the VLN.

The alleged graft was also to ensure that the contract agreement for the supply of the VLN integrated system by the company was maintained.

He was also levelled with seven additional charges for allegedly procuring for himself S$1.15mil, RM3mil, 15,000 Swiss francs and US$15,000 in his capacity as home minister.

He was accused of committing the crime between October 2014 and March 2018 in his private residence in Country Homes, Kajang and his official residence in Putrajaya.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, heading the prosecution team, was assisted by Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, Abdul Malik Ayob, Zander Lim Wai Keong and B. Thavani; whilst Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, Ahmad Zaidi and Hamidi Mohd Noh appeared for Ahmad Zahid.

The prosecution had called 18 witnesses including UKSB directors VK Lee, Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani and David Tan Siong Sun.