by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA
SHAH ALAM – The corruption trial of former deputy prime minister who is facing 40 charges over the Foreign Visa System (VLN) will start on May 24 at the High Court here.
Earlier, the hearing which was set on April 24 2021 was postponed following the implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) and was moved to May until June as a result of a change in High Court Judge.
High Court Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa, said the new dates agreeable with all parties are May 24, 25 and 27, June 1 to 3, 14 to 18 and June 21-25, covering 16 days of hearing.
Deputy Public Prosecutor, Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran who is heading the prosecution team said about 15 witnesses would be called to testify in the trial.
“We have agreed with the new dates as the judge was changed from Justice Datuk Noorin Badaruddin to Justice Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa.
“Considering all have agreed with the new dates, the trial is expect to go on without anymore postponement.
“Apart from that, we will be preparing comprehensive witness statements as required by the court,” she told reporters after the setting of the new dates here today.
Ahmad Zahid (picture), 68, who is also UMNO president was not present in court and was represented by his counsel Hamidi Mohd Noh.
Ahmad Zahid pleaded not guilty to 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to SGD13.56 million from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd as an inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant then as Home Minister to extend the contract of company as the operator of One Stop Centre (OSC) 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 allegedly 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.
The Bagan Datuk MP also pleaded not guilty to 33 alternative charges under Section 165 of the Penal Code as Home Minister for receiving bribes amounting to SGD13.56 million in relation to the VLN system between 2014 to 2017.
For another seven charges, Ahmad Zahid was charged as Home Minister for accepting SGD1,150,000, RM3,000,000, EURO15,000 and USD15,000 in cash from the same company which he knew had 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.