Yayasan Akalbudi UKSB VLN system foreign visa corruption Ahmad Zahid Hamidi Najib Razak Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd
Bekas Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (kanan) bersama Ahli Parlimen Bagan Datoh, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi ketika hadir pada Rang Undang-Undang Pindaan Had Umur Mengundi di Bangunan Parlimen, Kuala Lumpur. foto FAREEZ FADZIL, 16 JULAI 2019

SHAH ALAM: The High Court was told that the minutes of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for the contract of Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) to be extended as the sole operator of the foreign visa system (VLN) to Malaysia in China was not an order.

UKSB director Datuk Fadzil Ahmad said even though Najib was the prime minister and the head of the Cabinet then, the power to approve the VLN contract was under the Home Ministry (KDN).

“For me, the source and jurisdiction of authority [to extend the contract] of all my applications began only with KDN. It did not start at the PM’s office, so to me, the PM (Najib) can merely assist to expedite, not to give an order,” the witness said when re-examined by Deputy Public Prosecutor Zander Lim Wai Keong in the trial of Ahmad Zahid’s case, in which the latter is facing 40 charges of corruption.

Asked by Lim who would be approving the contract extension, Fadzil replied: “The final decision was with the home minister (Ahmad Zahid back then).”

Earlier, two prosecution witnesses, former KDN deputy secretary-general (TKSU) (policy and control) Datuk Suriani Ahmad and former principal assistant secretary at KDN immigration affairs division Azman Azra Abdul Rahman @ Md Salleh told the court that Najib had asked Ahmad Zahid to extend the contract of UKSB as the sole operator of the VLN system to Malaysia in China.

The minutes by Najib to Ahmad Zahid were written on three letters sent by UKSB to the former prime minister between May 23, 2013 and Oct 27, 2015 to obtain support after finding competition from other companies interested in handling the one-stop centre (OSC) in China and several other countries.

Meanwhile, during a re-examination by counsel Hamidi Mohd Nor, the 14th witness agreed that the earlier extension of the contract was something natural.

Hamidi: There was no need for UKSB to expedite or receive its extension as you can extend not less than six months before its expiry. Secondly, it’s natural to extend. It was not something new that needed an incentive or motivation to extend the contract. There was nothing peculiar about it. It’s natural the contract needed to be extended, right?

Fadzil: It depends on why it needs to be extended. I felt it was not automatically extended.

The witness agreed with the suggestion of the lawyer that based on Clause 2.2.1, the agreement to supply the integrated VLN system was signed before the company can apply for a contract extension not less than six months before the agreement was set to expire.

Fadzil also agreed with the lawyer that it was not an offence if the extension contract was made two or three years earlier before it expires.

Earlier, the sixth witness, Tan Sri Alwi Ibrahim who was the former KDN secretary-general, told the court that he was not satisfied with the decision of Ahmad Zahid to extend the contract of UKSB to implement the VLN system too earlier when the expiry period was still far away.

Ahmad Zahid, 69, is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million from UKSB for himself as the then home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the OSC service in China and the VLN system as well as to maintain the contract agreement to supply the VLN integrated system for the same company by KDN.

For another seven counts, Ahmad Zahid was charged with obtaining for himself S$1,150,000, RM3 million, €15,000 and US$15,000 from the same company, which had official links with his official duty.

He was charged with committing all the offences at Seri Satria, Presint 16, Putrajaya and Country Heights, Kajang between October 2014 and March 2018.

The trial before Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa continues on Wednesday. -BERNAMA

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