KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court was told yesterday that Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi received two cheques valued at RM6 million from Datasonic Group Berhad (DGB) Deputy Managing Director Chew Ben Ben, which was then handed over to Messrs Lewis & Co.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Investigating Officer Mohd Hizar Farhan Abdul Razi, 32, said both cheques were handed over by Chew to Ahmad Zahid at the former deputy prime minister’s official residence in Seri Satria, Putrajaya in 2017.
The court had been told before this that Lewis & Co was the trustee of the Yayasan Akalbudi owned by Ahmad Zahid.
Based on the 14th and 15th charge, Ahmad Zahid is alleged to have received bribes amounting to RM6 million from Chew as an inducement to appoint Datasonic Technologies Sdn Bhd (DTSB) to implement a five-year passport chip project or 12.5 million chips for the Malaysian passport polycarbonate biodata page for the Immigration Department through direct negotiations under the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN).
Mohd Hizar Farhan said the cheques were obtained from Chew following a shortage of passport supply in 2016 after DTSB was awarded the passport chip supply contract in 2015.
“Chew was called to meet the accused (Ahmad Zahid) on Sept 16 2016 to explain the lack of supply in passports.
“A few months later, in mid-April 2017, Chew was again called to meet the accused at his official residence in Seri Satria, Putrajaya and at the meeting (end of April 2017), Chew handed over two cheques amounting to RM6 million to the accused,” he said when reading out his witness statement during the main examination by Deputy Public Prosecutor Gan Peng Kun
He said this at the trial of the former deputy prime minister, who is facing corruption, abuse of power and money laundering charges involving millions of ringgit in funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.
The 91st prosecution witness said Ahmad Zahid, who was also Home Minister then, had instructed the Home Ministry secretary-general to act on DGB’s application for the supply of chips.
“Following this, the secretary-general directed the then secretary of the ministry’s procurement division, Datuk Abd Aziz Md Nor to provide comments and views to the Ministry of Finance on the matter.
“Only after Abd Aziz received a letter from the Home Minister’s office dated Sept 8, 2014 priority was given to the application for the supply of passport chips for five years or 12.5 million chips for the Malaysian passport polycarbonate biodata page.
“After receiving a letter from the office of the Deputy Prime Minister dated Oct 20, 2015, Abd Aziz instructed the assistant secretary-general of the ministry’s procurement division to expedite the decision on price negotiations to the Procurement Board so that the Letter of Acceptance can be expedited as directed by the accused,” he said.
When asked by Gan during re-examination, the witness agreed that the contract awarded to DTSB to supply the passport chips was in accordance with proper standard operating procedures.
Gan: If the accused had not agreed to the contract being given to DTSB, would the MOF have awarded it?
Mohd Hizar Farhan: No.
Ahmad Zahid, 68, faces 47 charges, 12 of them for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.
The trial before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues today. – Bernama