VLN trial: Ahmad Zahid freed of graft charges

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KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has acquitted former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of all 40 graft charges in the Foreign Visa System (VLN) case.

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High Court judge Justice Mohd Yazid Mustafa held that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against Ahmad Zahid and made the order for a discharge and acquittal here on Friday (Sept 23).

Meanwhile, at a press conference shortly after, Ahmad Zahid said he was grateful over his acquittal, adding that from the beginning of his trial, he was confident that the judge presiding his case had scrutinised all legal aspects before making a decision.

Ahmad Zahid also said his acquittal means that he had never committed any of the allegations mentioned in his graft charges in the VLN case.

“I’m also confident that as the chairman of Barisan and president of Umno that this is the success of Barisan and Umno’s struggles.

“I was shamed, accused and punished by the court of public opinion. But, god-willing, on a Friday, we saw that the law has been upheld for justice and I’m grateful,” said the Bagan Datuk MP.

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Ahmad Zahid also thanked his team of lawyers, his family members, Umno leaders and also supporters for being present.

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.

Seven additional charges were also levelled against Ahmad Zahid 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 acts between October 2014 and March 2018 in his private residence in Country Homes, Kajang and his official residence in Putrajaya.-The Star