SHAH ALAM, Sept 1 — Despite being on medical leave for cervical problems, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi turned up at the High Court here this morning for his corruption trial in connection with the Foreign Visa System (VLN).
The Bagan Datuk MP had undergone a medical procedure last week to treat a neck injury and was supposed to be resting, but attended hearing today anyway.
His lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh told the court that Ahmad Zahid was present voluntarily, to demonstrate his “commitment” to uphold the judicial process and dispel claims that he was faking his ill health as he could attend physically political party meetings but not his own trial.
“My client attended today’s court hearing on his own initiative to prove his commitment to the court that he is not sidelining the court and the ongoing judicial process.
“Despite being on medical leave until this Friday, he still turned up to show his utmost commitment,” Hamidi said.
But High Court judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa later vacated the trial for today and tomorrow anyway and agreed to a postponement.
He said he took into consideration the medical certificate submitted by the accused from physician Dr Mohd Shahir Anuar of Avisena Specialist Hospital for Ahmad Zahid to be on medical leave until September 4 following his hospitalisation and subsequent medical treatment last week.
“Based on the hospital admission letter, medical certificate and taking into account the judicial notice, the application by the defence through a letter to court dated August 23 for today’s hearing to be postponed is allowed.
“Therefore, court proceedings scheduled for today and tomorrow’s trial is vacated,” the judge said.
He then reminded the parties in court to ensure they turn up for the next scheduled hearing dates previously agreed upon, adding that he will not allow further adjournments.
The VLN trial is the second corruption case in which Ahmad Zahid is the accused.
The Umno lawmaker is also standing trial for 47 criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering charges involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
In the VLN case, Ahmad Zahid is accused of 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 then as home minister to extend the contract of company as the operator of 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 Home Ministry.
For another seven charges, Ahmad Zahid was charged as 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 connection with his function as then home minister.
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