Former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s deputy, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed trial to seven new charges of corruption involving S$4.24mil (about RM12.92mil) yesterday.
He is now facing the most corruption charges with a longer list than his ex-boss Najib who is facing up to 42 charges.
Accused of committing offences at the deputy prime minister’s official residence at Seri Satria, Presint 16, Putrajaya between March 28, 2017 and March 2, 2018, Zahid is facing 54 charges to which he pleaded not guilty.
The former deputy prime minister allegedly received S$300,000; S$300,000; S$1.04 million; S$1.04 million; S$520,000; S$520,000; S$520,000 from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd as a reward for him to extend the company’s contract as the operator of a one-stop centre (OSC) in China and Sistem Visa Luar Negara (VLN).
The ex-deputy PM is to face 33 more charges at the Shah Alam Sessions Court over the same VLN scandal today, bringing his total to 87 charges.
Zahid, who took over as Umno leader after he won the leadership contest after Najib resigned in 2018, was charged in his capacity as the then Home Minister.
With these offences, Zahid faces a maximum jail time of 20 years and a fine. He was released on bail with the mention set for July 31.
Najib was seen greeting Ahmad Zahid in the courtroom early in the morning, The Star newspaper says.
Najib’s trial has started and it is only the first batch of offences involving misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, a company linked to the 1MDB.
In a relief to Umno, the Parti Islam se-Malaysia says the 40 new crime charges brought against the party’s president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will not dampen the spirit of Umno or affect the party’s political cooperation with PAS.
“This is because, both Umno and PAS feel, the new rounds of prosecution against Zahid concern an individual and not Umno,” he says.