Zahid Hamidi charged with pocketing RM21.25m in bribes while home minister

Ida Lim
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was charged with receiving a total of RM21.25 million in bribes in return for projects given out to private companies while he was home minister. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 — Amid the whopping 45 corruption, money laundering and criminal charges against Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today, eight stand out for having happened while he was in government and in charge of the Home Ministry.

The former deputy prime minister from July 2015 to May 2018 was charged with receiving a total of RM21.25 million in bribes in return for projects given out to private companies while he was home minister.

The projects range from My EG Services Berhad projects, Malaysian passports and services for migrant workers seeking to enter Malaysia — which are either linked to the Home Ministry or falls under its purview.

Ahmad Zahid, now the Opposition leader after the Barisan Nasional was defeated in the May 9 general election, is accused of committing these eight corruption offences between July 2016 and March 2018.

Zahid was home minister from May 2013 to May 2018, with his ministry also overseeing the Immigration Department.

The eight charges in chronological order:

MyEG

The first three of the eight corruption charges are over Zahid’s alleged receipt as then home minister of RM13.25 million in bribes from the company Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services via 24 cheques.

The bribes were allegedly in return for Zahid helping the company to obtain MyEG projects that were being handled by the Home Ministry.

These charges were said to have occurred between July 15, 2016 and February 8, 2017.

Passport chips

The fourth and fifth charges are over Zahid’s alleged receipt of a total of RM6 million in bribes from Datasonic Group Berhad’s director Chew Ben Ben via two cheques while still home minister.

The bribes allegedly resulted in the appointment of Datasonic Technologies Sdn Bhd to implement the Immigration Department’s purchase of an additional 12.5 million chips for Malaysian passports.

The project to supply the chips for the biodata page of Malaysia’s polycarbonate passports was obtained through direct negotiations between the Home Ministry and Datasonic Technologies, the charges allege.

These charges were said to have occurred on April 26, 2017.

Migrant worker services

As for the remaining three of the eight corruption charges, Zahid was accused of receiving — again as home minister — a total of RM2 million in bribes from Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd’s director Azlan Shah Jaffril via three cheques from the company.

The charges alleged that the bribes resulted in Zahid appointing the company as the operator of a One Stop Centre (OSC) in Pakistan and Nepal.

The company has been named in a report on the controversial collection of high fees from migrant workers who wanted to work in Malaysia.

These charges were alleged to have occurred during the August 3, 2017 to March 15, 2018 period.

 

The cheques for all eight charges were said to have landed in a Maybank account of law firm Lewis & Co.

Penalties

All eight corruption charges were brought under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 which covers the offence of accepting gratification.

These are all punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law with a maximum 20-year jail term, and a fine of either RM10,000 or five times the amount of the bribe, whichever is higher.

Other charges

The eight corruption charges are on top of 10 criminal breach of trust charges involving over RM20.8 million of funds said to belong to Zahid’s family-owned charity foundation Yayasan Akalbudi, and an additional 27 charges of money-laundering RM72 million.

Zahid was released today on a RM2 million bail, to be paid in two instalments of RM1 million each.

He paid half of the bail today, with the remaining RM1 million to be paid by the deadline of October 26 (next Friday).

Zahid’s case will come up for mention on December 14.

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