Najib's deputy Zahid claims trial to 33 new counts of graft, now faces most charges among BN leaders
KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Thursday (Jun 27) was hit with 33 additional counts of receiving bribes from the operator of a visa application system.
The new charges bring the total number of charges against him to 87, the highest among senior figures from the former Barisan Nasional government.
He claimed trial to all 33 charges of having accepted S$13.97 million over the overseas visa system.
This came after he was charged on Wednesday with seven counts of having accepted bribes totalling S$4.24 million from a company, also through the overseas visa system.
For 26 of the charges under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act brought against him on Thursday, the current United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) leader is alleged to have received bribes totalling S$9.32 million from Ultra Kirana.
The money was believed to have been an inducement for him as then home minister to extend the company’s contract to operate the One Stop Centre in China and the overseas visa system. He also allegedly instructed the home ministry to retain the contract to supply the integrated visa system to the same company.
For the remaining seven charges read out on Thursday, the former deputy premier is alleged to have received more than S$250,000 in cash from the company.
The judge allowed him to be released on bail of RM500,000 (US$120,677) in one Malaysian surety and set Jul 29 for mention. His passport has been impounded by the court.
Earlier, Ahmad Zahid had pleaded not guilty to 47 charges for criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi, his own Islamic charity foundation.
Former prime minister Najib Razak faces 42 charges of corruption and money laundering. His wife, Rosmah Mansor, faces at 20 criminal charges, including 12 counts of money laundering and five counts of failure to declare her income.