SHAH ALAM: The High Court today ruled that three key prosecution witnesses in Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption case involving 40 counts of receiving bribes in connection with the Foreign Visa System (VLN) were unreliable and not credible.

Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa, when reading out his more than two-hour judgment, named the witnesses as former directors of Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB, namely Harry Lee Vui Khiun, Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani and David Tan Siong Sun, who are the 15th, 16th and 17th prosecution witness (PW), respectively.

“I find that the three key witnesses called by the prosecution were not reliable and neither were they trustworthy or credible,” he said.

Judge Mohd Yazid said the court found that the notations of ‘Z’ and ‘ZH’ that appeared in UKSB’s ledger did not prove that Ahmad Zahid received the monies or gratification.

“I further find that even though there was a suggestion that the accused had received political donations amounting to RM200,000 on two occasions, there is no sufficient evidence of particulars before the court for me to come up with any amended charge,” he added.

He said Harry Lee (PW15) and Wan Quoris Shah (PW16) also agreed that there was no independent evidence to support the contention that the monies were paid to Ahmad Zahid.

“Based on all the evidence adduced by the prosecution, I observe there is no closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage produced in court, the drivers (of the key witnesses), the guards and policemen (at Ahmad Zahid’s house) were not called.

“Touch ‘n Go transaction slips or phone call logs and messages with the accused were also not produced (as evidence),” he said.

Referring to Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s solar case, judge Mohd Yazid said all the individuals involved in the process to deliver the money (RM5 million) to her were called as witnesses.

“However in Ahmad Zahid’s case, the witnesses involved or had knowledge of the source of funds, including Nicole (a businesswoman from Hong Kong) and two money changers were not called as witnesses to support the prosecution’s case,” he added.

Judge Mohd Yazid also said the three key witnesses testified that the monies were placed in a brown envelope on each occasion of delivery, but the prosecution did not produce any sample envelope as evidence.

“No evidence was led to show the size of the envelope used. I simply cannot imagine what envelope, in what size, could fit in the SG$600,000 in cash which is equivalent to about RM1.6 million at the material time.

“Surprisingly, David Tan (PW17), the creator of the ledger, admitted during cross-examination that the second delivery of RM3 million was by way of a luggage was an afterthought.

“This admission of an afterthought by PW17 is more than sufficient for me to find that he has zero credibility,” he added.

To further support his finding, the judge said David Tan testified that he would record the payments on the same day or the next day, but most of the ‘remark’ columns in the ledger were left blank.

“PW15 also agreed that the blank ‘remark’ columns do not show that the monies were paid to the accused. The blank ‘remark’ columns give rise to a possible inference as suggested by the defence that the monies could have been distributed among the three of them (PW15, PW16 and PW17) as they maintained a luxurious lifestyle,” the judge said.

He said each of them owned one unit of property at Pavilion, with PW16 also owning a bungalow house in Putrajaya, one semi-detached house in Cyberjaya, two Range Rovers, expensive motorcycles and pay tax amounting to millions of ringgit.

“Without strong evidential support, I simply cannot consciously make a finding that the monies were in fact received by the accused as suggested by the prosecution based on transactions recorded in the ledger as there was no record that the monies were in fact received by the accused in the ‘remark’ columns,” said the judge.

Judge Mohd Yazid said from the testimony of the three key witnesses, it was Harry Lee (PW15) who controlled and decide on the funds and made payments to various parties.

“Further, these monies were not reported to the tax authorities, never reported to the external and internal auditors of UKSB and these monies were are not reflected in audited accounts of UKSB.

“I find that there is sufficient evidence to show that criminal offences have been committed. Based on ledger (UKSB), the monies received from Sept 2004 until Aug 2018 was about RM238,356,966,” he said.

Judge Mohd Yazid said the court found that the prosecution failed to make out a prima facie case on all the charges when they failed to prove the foremost important element against Ahmad Zahid, which is the receipt of the corrupt monies.

“Based on the foregoing reasons and analysis of the evidence and the law, I hereby acquit and discharge the accused from all charges without calling for his defence as the prosecution has failed to made out a prima facie case,“ he added.

However, on the issue of political donation, the judge said the defence failed to lead evidence to suggest that the political donation of RM200,000 was spent for political purposes.

On the issue of unfair trial and selective prosecution raised by the defence, he said the matters did not arise at all in the case.

“I myself certainly have refrained from day one to be swayed or influenced by any comments made outside of this courtroom. It was my solemn duty to uphold justice without favour and fear or prejudice,“ he added.

He expressed his appreciation to both parties for their professionalism in conducting the trial, enabling the proceedings to run smoothly without any vexatious and frivolous interlocutory applications.

After the judge finished reading out the more than 100-page judgement, Ahmad Zahid, clad in white baju Melayu and black pants shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’, followed by applause by family members and supporters.

Ahmad Zahid had pleaded not guilty to 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to SG$13.56 million from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd for himself as Home Minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of a 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.

On the other seven charges, he was alleged to have obtained for himself cash of SG$1,150,000; RM3.125 million; 15,000 Swiss Franc; and US$15,000 from the same company, which he knew had a connection with his official functions.

He was charged with committing all the offences at Seri Satria, Precinct 16, Putrajaya and Country Heights, Kajang, between Oct 2014 and March 2018. - Bernama

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