by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA
Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was charged in the Sessions Court today with 33 counts of having accepted bribes totalling RM42.76 million from a company over the overseas visa system, raising to 40 the number of such charges brought against him.
Ahmad Zahid, 66, who is the former home minister, pleaded not guilty to all the charges which were read out to him before Judge Rozilah Salleh.
Yesterday, he had pleaded not guilty in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to seven counts of having accepted bribes totalling SGD4.24 million from a company, also over the overseas visa system.
For 26 of the charges brought against him today, Ahmad Zahid, who is the UMNO president, is alleged to have received bribes totalling SGD9,320,000 from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd as an inducement for him as a public officer, that is the home minister, for having extended the company’s contract as the operator of the One Stop Centre (OSC) in China and the overseas visa system and allegedly for the home ministry to retain the contract to supply the integrated visa system to the same company.
The offences were alleged to have been committed at 389, Jalan Bayu Nyaman, Country Heights, Kajang, between Oct 2014 and July 2017.
The charges, under Section 16 (a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 and punishable under Section 24 (1) of the same Act, carry a maximum jail term of 20 years and fine of RM10,000 or five times the amount of the bribe, whichever is higher, if convicted.
On the remaining seven charges, Ahmad Zahid, as a public officer, that is home minister, is alleged to have obtained for himself cash of SG150,000, RM325,000, EUR15,000 and USD15,000 without consideration from the same company which he knew had a connection with his official function.
The offences, under Section 165 of the Penal Code, were allegedly committed at the same place between June 2015 and April 2017.
Ahmad Zahid faces imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine, or both, if found guilty of these offences.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Mukhzany Fariz Mohd Mokhtar proposed RM1-million bail in one surety, but lawyer Kitson Foong, representing Ahmad Zahid, sought “a reasonable amount”.
Rozilah allowed Ahmad Zahid to be released on bail of RM500,000 in one surety and set July 29 for mention.
On Oct 19 and Dec 14, 2018, as well as Feb 20 this year, Ahmad Zahid pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here to a total of 47 charges, 12 of which were for criminal breach of trust, eight for bribery and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
The cases were transferred to the High Court which set Nov 18 to 22, Dec 2 to 6 and Dec 9 to 13 for the hearing.