SHAH ALAM - Malaysia's High Court has acquitted former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of graft charges linked to a visa scheme.
Shah Alam High Court judge Mohd Yazid Mustafa made the order for a discharge and acquittal on Friday, saying that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case.
Zahid was facing 33 counts of allegedly receiving S$13.56 million (RM43.39 million) from UKSB to facilitate the company's one-stop centre and foreign visa system in China.
The 69-year-old politician is also faced seven bribery charges in his capacity as home affairs minister then, being alleged to have obtained for himself bribes denominated in different currencies comprising S$1.15 million, RM3 million (S$931,586), €15,000 (S$20,935) and US$15,000 (S$21,282) from UKSB.
The trial, which is a second one for Zahid, began on May 24, 2021 with 18 prosecution witnesses testifying, including senior officers of the Home Ministry where Zahid was the minister, and UKSB directors.
During the trial, the defence had alleged that their client was a victim of a political prosecution, casting doubts on the testimonies given by some witnesses, as some facts appeared to have been omitted from their statements.
The prosecution, however, had argued that the court had no jurisdiction to decide on the issue, and matters that were not put in witness statements was such a petty issue as the three UKSB witnesses had come on their own accord to testify that money was in fact given to Zahid.
This does not mean Zahid's troubles are over. He is still standing trial on 47 charges, namely 12 of them for criminal breach of trust in relation to more than RM31 million of charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi's funds, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges over RM21.25 million of alleged bribes.
The charges, under Section 409 of the ...