Pix: NSTP/MOHAMAD SHAHRIL BADRI SAALI
KUALA LUMPUR — Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today was slapped with seven counts of graft totalling SGD4.24 million involving a foreign visa system two years ago.
The former prime minister and Home Minister, however, pleaded not guilty to all offences when the charges were read to him before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi.
Zahid, clad in a dark batik shirt arrived at about 8.30am together with his daughter Datuk Nurulhidayah and son-in-law Datuk Saiful Nizam Mohd Yusoff.
Zahid who was looking jovial upon arrival was escorted to the courtroom by several Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers and policemen.
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also went inside the courtroom to greet Zahid before he left the building at 9.25am.
MACC Commission chief Latheefa Koya also present during the proceeding and sat in the front row at the public gallery.
According to the charge sheet, the Bagan Datuk member of parliament was allegedly received SGD300,000; SGD300,000; SGD1.04 milion; SGD1.04 million; SGD520,000; SGD520,000; and SGD520,000 from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd.
The accused as the Home Minister believed to receive the monies as an inducement for him to extend Ultra Kirana contract to manage the one-stop centre in China and Visa Luar Negara (VLN) system.
He was allegedly committed the offence at the deputy prime minster ’s official residence at Seri Satria in Putrajaya between March 28, 2017 and March 2, 2018.
The offence falls under Section 16 (a)(B) of the MACC Act 2009 punishable under Section 165 of the Penal Code.
If found guilty, Zahid faces a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of not less than five times time amount of bribe received.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Mukhzany Fariz Mohd Mokhtar asked the court to impose RM200,000 bail with one surety against the accused.
“The accused also need to surrender his passport to the court,” he said.
Counsel Kitson Foong who represented Zahid did not object to the amount and stating that his client had surrendered his passport to the court during previous corruption charges involving Yayasan Akal Budi.
The court agreed to the bail and fixed July 31 for mention.
Zahid is now being slapped with a total of 54 corruption charges including the 47 charges filed against him between November last year and February this year.
These included 11 counts of criminal breach of trust amounting to RM21 million, eight graft charges involving RM21 million and 27 counts of money-laundering totaling up to RM72 million.
He has claimed trial to all charges.
It was reported that Zahid is expected to be charged with another 33 charges at the Shah Alam High Court involving the same VLN scandal.