During Zahid Hamidi's trial over visa systems deal, ex-contractor explains Ultra Kirana’s ‘benefits’ from monthly payments in Singapore dollar

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

SHAH ALAM, June 9 — The reduction in competition was a testament to Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s support of monthly cash assistance in the hundreds of thousands in Singapore dollars he had received from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd’s (UKSB) between 2014 and 2018, a witness told the High Court today.

Former Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) director Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani, who is also the prosecution’s 16th witness in Ahmad Zahid’s corruption trial, said the financial assistance — in the form of political donations to Umno — was in exchange for UKSB’s monopoly over the federal government’s Foreign Visa System (VLN) contracts under Ahmad Zahid’s ministry.

According to the facts of the case, UKSB had entered into several agreements with the Malaysian Government and the Home Ministry for visa facilitation services by operating several One Stop Centres (OSC) in the People’s Republic of China from 2012 onwards.

Wan Quoris said it was utmost important for UKSB to ensure their business remained uninterrupted at the material time, since there were several companies attempting to lobby for the VLN contracts UKSB was executing.

“So, we believe that with the financial assistance we provided, it will strengthen our position as a contractor for the Home Ministry.

“It was evident that Datuk Seri Zahid supported us, and we were able to reduce disruptions from other competitors,” Wan Quoris Shah said in his witness statement here.

In his testimony, Wan Quoris Shah told the court he was tasked with expanding UKSB’s businesses through lobbying to obtain supply and service contracts from the government during his tenure as a company director between May 2013 and August 2018.

He also told the court of the importance of establishing a mutual trust and affinity with Ahmad Zahid since the latter wielded far-reaching authority in formulating policies and directions of the Home Ministry in particular.

“Any decision he makes can have an impact on our business whether directly or indirectly. So, with my close connections to him, it is hopeful that UKSB’s position as a contractor is guaranteed, what more when there are other companies wishing for a slice of the pie in the VLN contracts,” he added.

Later, Wan Quoris Shah affirmed the monthly cash payments made to Ahmad Zahid as it was a request for help that UKSB obliged to, admitting that he had knowledge of the matter since he had personally handed over the cash to the latter several times.

“These monies were given to Datuk Seri after he had asked for UKSB’s assistance to extend aid

“While he did not directly make the request, through the manner of his speech I understood he was hoping for cash assistance from UKSB,” Wan Quoris Shah said.

Previously, former UKSB director Harry Lee Vui Khiun, who was also the prosecution’s 15th witness, testified cash payments were made to Ahmad Zahid for the purpose of political donations.

Ahmad Zahid, 69, is facing 33 charges of accepting a bribe of S$13.56 million from UKSB, for himself as home minister to extend the company’s contract as the operator of OSC Services in China and VLN Systems as well as maintaining a contract agreement to supply VLN integrated systems to the same company by the Home Ministry.

For the other seven charges, Ahmad Zahid is alleged to have obtained for himself S$1.15 million, RM3 million, €15,000 and US$15,000 in cash from UKSB that had links with his official duties.

The trial before Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa continues on June 13.

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