Final Decision To Extend Visa Contract Lies With Home Minister Not Pm Says Witness
Former home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is facing multiple charges of receiving bribes from a company to extend its contract as the operator of the foreign visa system in China.SHAH ALAM: The High Court was today told that the minutes of former prime minister Najib Razak to 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) for Malaysia in China was not an order.
UKSB director Fadzil Ahmad said even though Najib was the prime minister and 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 can merely assist to expedite, not to give an order,” he said when re-examined by deputy public prosecutor Lim Wai Keong at the trial of Zahid’s case on 40 charges of corruption.
Asked by Lim who would be approving the contract extension, Fadzil replied: “The final decision is with the home minister (Zahid).”
Earlier, two prosecution witnesses, former KDN deputy secretary-general (TKSU) (policy and control) Suriani Ahmad and former principal assistant secretary at KDN immigration affairs division Azman Azra Abdul Rahman @ Salleh told the court that Najib had asked Zahid to extend the contract of UKSB as the sole operator of the VLN system for Malaysia in China.
The minutes by Najib to Zahid were in 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 is not something new that needs incentive or motivation to extend the contract. There is nothing peculiar about it. It’s natural the contract needs 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 could apply for a contract extension, six months before the agreement was to expire.
Fadzil also agreed with the lawyer that it was not an offence if the extension of contract was made two or three years earlier, before it expired.
Earlier, the sixth witness, Alwi Ibrahim, who was the former KDN secretary-general, told the court that he was not satisfied with the decision of Zahid to extend the contract of UKSB to implement the VLN system so much earlier before the expiry date.
Zahid, 69, is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million from UKSB for himself as home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the OSC service in China and the VLN system.
He also faces another seven counts of obtaining for himself S$1,150,000, RM3 million, 15,000 euros 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 Yazid Mustafa continues tomorrow. - FMT
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