SHAH ALAM, May 17 ― Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s handwritten minutes to former Interior Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to proceed with approval of Ultra Kirana’s contract extension Sdn Bhd for the Government’s Foreign Visa Scheme (VLN) cannot be construed as a directive, a witness told the High Court today.
UKSB director Datuk Fadzil Ahmad, who is the 14th prosecution witness in Ahmad Zahid’s VLN corruption trial, said: “Even though Najib was prime minister at the time, the source of power and of authoritative jurisdiction (to approve contract extensions) fell under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry, all of our applications started there and not in the Prime Minister’s office.
“The prime minister could probably write to speed up the process but not give orders,” Fadzil said during re-examination by Assistant Prosecutor Zander Lim Wai Keong.
When asked who was the minister of approval at the time, Fadzil replied that it was Ahmad Zahid who had the final say.
Earlier in cross-examination, defense attorney Hamidi Mohd Noh explained to Fadzil that Najib’s handwritten minute to Ahmad Zahid in a letter signed by the UKSB on the implementation of the VLN was a specific instruction. emitted by the first to the second.
In his response, Fadzil disagreed with Hamidi’s assertion that Ahmad Zahid was merely following specific orders as a subordinate.
Fadzil had also accepted Hamidi’s assertion that the extension of the VLN contract requested by the UKSB ― which took place approximately three years before its expiration ― was not motivated by external motivations or urgency, because it was “natural” for such an affair to take place.
hamidi: There was no need for the UKSB to fast-track or get a contract extension because, logically, you can ask for an extension no less than six months before it expires.
No problem at all. Second, it’s natural to stretch. It’s nothing new that needed prompting. Or motivated. There’s nothing in particular, it’s only natural that the VLN contract had to be extended, isn’t it?
Fadzil: Well, it depends on why the extension needed and I don’t think it’s automatically extended.
Hamidi then cited the clauses of the initial contractual agreement which stated that an extension could be applied at least six months before its expiration.
Fadzil: To correct.
Earlier, the sixth witness for the prosecution, former Home Secretary General Tan Sri Alwi Ibrahim, expressed his displeasure that the contract extension was granted to the UKSB “too soon” – about three years before it expires.
Ahmad Zahid faces 33 charges of taking bribes worth 13.56 million Singapore dollars (RM42 million) from the UKSB as an inducement for him- even in his capacity as a civil servant and Minister of the Interior at the time to extend the company’s contract as an operator of CSOs. in China and the VLN system as well as to maintain the agreement for the supply of accessories of the integrated VLN system to the same company by the Ministry of the Interior.
On seven other counts, Ahmad Zahid was charged as Home Minister with obtaining for himself S$1,150,000, RM3 million, €15,000 and US$15,000 in cash of the same company in the course of his official work.
The trial before Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa continues tomorrow.