THE High Court hearing the corruption case of Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi regarding the Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) funds was told that Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd (PRSB) had followed all the relevant procedures in securing the contract to operate the One Stop Centre (OSC) for visas in Pakistan and Nepal.
The Ministry of Home Affairs’ (KDN) former deputy secretary-general (policy and control) Suriani Ahmad, 54, said PRSB had conformed to all the standard operating procedures to obtain a contract from the government, just like any other firm would.
He said PRSB was appointed as an OSC operator in Nepal and Pakistan after the company’s permission to run the OSC in Dhaka, Bangladesh for Malaysian visa processing applications was cancelled on November 11, 2015.
“PRSB sent a letter of appeal to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak at that time to reconsider the cancellation that had been imposed on PRSB. An appeal letter was also issued to Home Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi by PRSB at the time,” he said, reading his witness statement.
The fourth defence witness said Zahid then called Shahril Ismail who is the divisional secretary (Immigration Affairs Division) at the KDN and a meeting was held to discuss the appeal.
Suriani said he and KDN chief secretary Alwi Ibrahim were present at the meeting and in the discussion, Zahid referred to the minutes of the letter from Najib, which stated that a second chance should be given to PRSB if no wrongdoing had been done.
“The discussion found that the problem occurred because the office of the Malaysian High Commissioner had not approved for PRSB to begin operating the OSC in Dhaka, and that it was not a direct mistake of PRSB. The committee (then) decided to give a second chance to PRSB to operate the OSC in Pakistan and Nepal,” he said.
In the trial, Zahid is accused of eight charges of corruption relating to bribes received from three companies, namely Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, Data Sonic Group Berhad, and Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd as an inducement to help the companies secure several projects.
The Bagan Datuk MP who was the home minister at the time, was accused of committing the acts at the Maybank branch at Dataran Maybank, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, between July 15, 2016, and March 15, 2018, according to Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.
Earlier, the proceedings challenging the credibility of the third defence witness - Syarikat Teknik Sempurna Sdn Bhd director Jefri Jamil - was scheduled to continue on October 31 after the court granted the request by counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik to postpone proceedings for his side to prepare submissions.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran argued that the prosecution and defence did not need to be involved in the proceedings to challenge the credibility of witnesses.
She said only the judge and the witness were involved, whereby the judge would ask the witness to explain the discrepancy between the testimony in court and the statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Zahid, 69, faces 47 charges including 12 charges of criminal breach of trust, eight charges of corruption, and 27 charges of money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to YAB.
The trial before Judge Collin Sequerah continues on October 31. – Bernama, September 22, 2022.