The High Court here was told today that the money given by Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) to former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was a political donation.
It was not for corrupt purposes, said former UKSB director Harry Lee Vui Khun when cross-examined counsel Hamidi Mohd Noh, representing Ahmad Zahid at the trial of the Foreign Visa System (VLN) corruption case.
Yesterday, Lee told the court that UKSB made monthly cash payment in Singapore Dollars (SGD) to Ahmad Zahid from 2014 to 2018 for the Foreign Visa System (VLN) contract.
Meanwhile, when questioned by lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, also representing Ahmad Zahid, whether the political donation was for UMNO, the witness said to his understanding, it was for the government of the day.
Ahmad Zahid, 69, is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to SG$13.56 million from UKSB for himself as Home Minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of OSC service in China and the supply VLN system as well as to maintain the contract agreement to supply the VLN integrated system to the same company by KDN.
The excuses presented by some of Malaysia’s most senior political figures and their defenders in court are sometimes so staggering that one fears there must be people out there ready to believe them.
This witness, in testimony designed to exonerate Zahid Hamidi for taking bribes for contracts, spells out in detail the essence of a corrupt transaction, explaining how he made monthly secret payments to the then Home Minister (now fittingly head of UMNO) in return for a lucrative contract to his company.
Apparently, he had admitted to anti-corrupti0n investigators that he used to drive up to Zahid’s residence with the cash in a bag to hand to the then deputy prime minister for the favour on a regular basis.
Yet, this self-admitted crook is now lecturing the court that because the money was allegedly proffered and received on behalf of the UMNO political party (in fact, the evidence shows it was used for Zahid’s own purposes) the transactions were not corrupt!
The phrase “only in Malaysia” sadly comes to mind that anyone thinks they could get away with such an argument and that it is OK to secretly bribe political parties for favours just not the politicians themselves…. even if you are paying the politician in cash in the name of donating to the party.
Of course, this was how Musa Aman was let off the first time after the Hong Kong authorities caught his stooge with a sack of $19 million he happened to be smuggling through the airport in cash on the way to his Swiss bank accounts – namely bribe money for timber contracts.
At that time back in 2012 the UMNO authorities merely organised for it to be ruled as a ‘political donation’ and therefore categorised as being excused.
The Malaysian public are not fooled. Musa Aman was eventually prosecuted for this and other crimes under the newly elected government. It was only after the Sheraton Coup restored UMNO to the driving seat that prosecutors again let Musa off (he is apparently preparing for his planned political return).
Zahid, unfortunately for him, is rather further down the road with his proceedings. And this excuse now brought before the court is unlikely to impress the judges any more than the jaded Malaysian public.