Zahid trial: MACC officer affirms ‘donations’ to charity came from companies, individuals

KUALA LUMPUR : Several companies and individuals had made “donations” to Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s family-owned Yayasan Akalbudi charity, a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer affirmed in the High Court today.null

Testifying as the 96th witness in the trial, MACC investigating officer Mohd Amirudin Nordin affirmed that companies such as MYEG Services Bhd, Chia Bee Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Jogabonito Jewellery & Diamonds, and Sarana Kencana Sdn Bhd.

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur March 10, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur March 10, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

He also said one Mubarak Hussain Aktar Husin had issued cheques to the law firm Zahid used, Lewis & Co, with each payment being recorded as “donation”.

“Meanwhile cheques from Kiosk Solutions Sdn Bhd were meant for ‘project lobbying’ purposes while cheques from Ri-Yaz Asset Sdn Bhd were for refunds for an unsuccessful takeover of shares,” he said.

When asked further, Mohd Amirudin replied that these were determined to be “donations” after he identified the cheque issuers and recorded their respective statements to reaffirm the purpose of payment.

He also said Zahid had instructed the aforementioned law firm’s co-partner Muralidharan Balan Pillai to open up several fixed deposits accounts for the said donations as the firm was the appointed trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi.

At first glance, Amirudin told the court, the number of fixed deposits opened by the law firm raised suspicions but were done in an orderly manner.

Later, defence lawyer Hamidi Mohd Nor questioned Amirudin about the purported orders from Zahid, adding there was no written or recorded instruction issued from Zahid himself.

To this, Amirudin agreed.

Hamidi also asked Amirudin whether he knew that Muralidharan was required by law to place monies belonging to clients into fixed deposits, to which Amirudin said he did not.

During re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong on Zahid’s purported instruction to Muralidharan, Amirudin said Muralidharan told investigators that Zahid gave these verbally.

Separately, MACC investigating officer Mohamad Khairi Ibrahim also took to the stand to affirm a witness statement he had previously recorded belonging to former Yayasan Akalbudi company secretary Idris Kechek.

Idris’s statement was recorded at the MACC’s headquarters in Putrajaya between June 2018 and July 2018.

According to Mohamad Khairi who is also the 97th prosecution witness, Idris’s employment as secretary since the founding of Yayasan Akalbudi in 1997 came to an abrupt end following direct orders from Zahid on grounds that he failed to file any financial statements during his tenure.

Idris, who is now deceased, had in his statement said the termination order was relayed through a former member of Yayasan Akalbudi board of trustees, Mohd Samsuri Tun.

Idris subsequently passed away shortly after having his statement taken the same year.

“As far as I know, the excuse to terminate my employment as company secretary was because I had not filed any financial statements since we were not audited,” Mohamad Khairi said while reading excerpts of Idris’s witness statement.

Prosecutors had earlier sought to tender Idris’s recorded statement before the court under Section 32(1) of the Evidence Act as he was unable to be called as a witness to testify.

In this trial, Zahid ― who is a former deputy prime minister and currently the Umno president ― is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.

By : KENNETH TEE – MALAY MAIL

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