Ahmad Zahid still on sick leave, corruption trial postponed to Sept 28

SHAH ALAM (Sept 1): The High Court here today allowed Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s application to postpone his corruption trial involving the Foreign Visa System (VLN) as he was still on sick leave, but stressed that any other postponement after this will not be allowed.

Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa said the medical certificate (MC) submitted by the defence showed that Ahmad Zahid is on sick leave until Sept 4.

He said the court had also taken judicial notice that Dr Mohd Shahir Anuar from the Avisena Specialist Hospital in Shah Alam had appeared before Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah to explain the medical condition of Ahmad Zahid. 

“Based on the content of the MC as prima facie evidence, the court accepts that the accused is not fit to return to duty until Sept 4.

“The court appreciates the commitment shown by the accused and asks that the same commitment be continued in the remaining days of the trial,” he said.

The judge then set Sept 28, Oct 22, Nov 18 and 19, and Dec 20 to 24 to resume the trial of the former deputy prime minister, who is facing 40 corruption charges in connection with the VLN.

“The court would like to stress and remind all quarters that the dates have been agreed to by all parties involved, and we ask for cooperation to enable the hearing to take place as scheduled and that any other postponement will not be allowed,” he said.

Earlier, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh informed the court of his client’s latest medical condition, and requested that the proceedings set for today and tomorrow be postponed as Ahmad Zahid is still on sick leave.

“The defence would like to request for today’s proceedings to be postponed to a new date as we believe that our client should be fully prepared, physically and mentally to attend the proceedings,” he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, meanwhile, requested that the accused obtain an MC from a government hospital.

“If possible, an MC from the Ministry of Health (MoH) or from the government (hospital). This is because the MC from some private hospitals has a footnote saying that it cannot be used in court proceedings,” he said.

Nevertheless, Wan Shaharuddin also thanked Ahmad Zahid for his commitment to attending today’s proceedings.

Ahmad Zahid, 68, is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd as an inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant and the then home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the One Stop Centre (OSC) in China and the VLN system as well as to maintain the agreement to supply VLN integrated system paraphernalia to the same company by the ministry.

For another seven charges, Ahmad Zahid was charged as the home minister for accepting S$1,150,000, RM3,000,000, €15,000 (RM75,663) and US$15,000 (RM62,115) in cash from the same company, which he knew had a connection with his function as the then home minister.

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