UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been acquitted of all graft charges in relation to the Foreign Visa System (VLN).
Shah Alam High Court judge Justice Mohd Yazid Mustafa today ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case.
Zahid, 69, had been accused of 33 counts of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 mil (RM42 mil) from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) as inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant and the then home minister to extend the company’s contract to operate One Stop Centres in China and integrated visa system better known as VLN (short for Visa Luar Negara).
The Bagan Datuk MP was also charged with another seven counts of obtaining gratification in various currencies from the same company for himself in connection with his official work.
In the course of his trial so far, these cash kickbacks are said to amount to S$1.15 mil, RM3 mil, CHF15,000 and US$15,000.
Zahid was accused of receiving bribes to extend UKSB’s contract to operate the 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.
The charges were framed under Section 16 (a)(B) of the MACC Act 2009, which provides for a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
Zahid was home minister when the Barisan Nasional was government from May 2013 until May 2018. His ministry was in charge of the Immigration Department.
He still faces 35 charges in the Kuala Lumpur High Court for money laundering and criminal breach of trust involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi and for accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as the home minister. – Sept 23, 2022