Zahid’s Trial : Wife signed blank cheque book for moneychanger husband’s use, RM4.6m flowed out via cheques

KUALA LUMPUR : A woman today told the court that she had signed off on a blank cheque book for her company, and that she had in 2016 authorised the channelling of funds totalling almost RM4.6 million out from her company’s account on the instructions of her moneychanger husband Omar Ali Abdullah to an entity that she did not know.

Kamarunisah Ahmah Shah, 48, was testifying as the 69th prosecution witness in former home minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption and money-laundering trial.null

Omar Ali Abdullah who was produced in court for identification by prosecution witness is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 17, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Omar Ali Abdullah who was produced in court for identification by prosecution witness is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 17, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Throughout the trial, Kamarunisah’s moneychanger husband Omar Ali has been repeatedly mentioned by business people testifying in the trial as the reason why they had trustingly signed off blank cheques to hand over to him. The blank cheques had ended up being paid out to law firm Lewis & Co, which was mentioned repeatedly in Zahid’s money-laundering charges.

Today, Kamarunisah’s testimony in court shedded more light on Omar Ali the moneychanger, who she has been married to since 1992 and has four children with.

As the director of her company Ekares Sdn Bhd which was set up in March 2013 together with co-director Abdul Majid Mohd Yusoff to provide oil and gas services, Kamarunisah said she is the sole signatory for cheques issued from the company’s CIMB Islamic account.null

As for her husband Omar Ali’s use of her company’s CIMB Islamic bank account, Kamarunisah said that she did not know about funds being deposited into the account as all such deposits were managed by her husband.

“My husband did not tell me from where the money came from,” she said in her witness statement today.

“I only signed a blank cheque book owned by Ekares Sdn Bhd where the name of the recipient and the amount I also did not fill in. I was only told by my husband if there are phone calls from the bank and I only had to verify the payment from the cheques. To whom that Ekares Sdn Bhd make payments to is beyond my control,” she said in her witness statement.

Without knowing where the money entering her company came from or who it was paid out to, Kamarunisah’s company was today verified in court to have paid out 16 cheques totalling RM4,559,036 (or nearly RM4.6 million) in just three days in 2016 to Lewis & Co.

Having verified the use of her company’s 16 cheques to pay out the nearly RM4.6 million to Lewis & Co, Kamarunisah explained that her husband Omar Ali would tell her about the amount that would be paid and the recipient of the company’s cheques before the bank called her to verify the cheque payments.

“I confirm that I did ask my husband whether there were funds in Ekares Sdn Bhd’s account to make payments of such amounts, and my husband told me that he had deposited money received into Ekares Sdn Bhd’s account,” she said.

“I confirm that I do not know why payments were made to Lewis & Co as the payment matters were handled by my husband and I only signed those blank cheques,” she said, confirming that Omar Ali had told her of the payments to Lewis & Co.

“The payments to Lewis & Co were made using money received by my husband from an unknown individual and entered into Ekares Sdn Bhd’s account. I confirm that Ekares Sdn Bhd has no projects and Ekares Sdn Bhd does not have money as much as that to make payments to Lewis & Co. I confirm that Ekares Sdn Bhd has no work relationships at all with Lewis & Co,” she said in the same witness statement.

In this trial where Zahid is facing 47 charges, he is accused of having committed money-laundering by having allegedly ordered an individual known as Omar Ali Abdullah to launder RM6,885,300.20 (or more than RM6.885 million) in cash into 30 cheques that were given to law firm Lewis & Co to buy fixed deposits in Maybank between March 29 to July 15, 2016.

The trial before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah is expected to resume tomorrow.

MALAY MAIL

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