KUALA LUMPUR : A company director’s donation of RM9 million to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi — where Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is a trustee — for the purpose of building mosques was not corrupt, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer argued in court today (Sept 13).
Ahmad Zahid’s lead defence lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik today argued that MYEG Services Bhd’s non-executive director Datuk Mohd Jimmy Wong Abdullah’s intentions in making the donation were purely for the building of mosques.
Today, Teh was presenting arguments in the High Court on why money-laundering charges — involving alleged funds from illegal activities — against Ahmad Zahid should be dismissed, including money-laundering charges involving the RM9 million donation that Wong had given through multiple cheques of RM600,000 each and which were placed in fixed deposits by law firm Lewis & Co.
Explaining that Wong is not involved with the daily operations of MYEG in his role as a non-executive director, Teh went on to argue that there was no evidence to support the prosecution’s view that the RM9 million donation amounts to corruption and an unlawful activity.
“My response, this submission is completely misconceived, not supported by evidence whatsoever, not supported by the evidence of Jimmy Wong,” Teh said.
Teh argued that Wong as the 78th prosecution witness in this trial had previously testified that the RM9 million donations were for the purpose of building a mosque in Melaka and a mosque in Country Heights, Kajang.
Teh highlighted excerpts of Wong’s previous court testimony, including where the latter had said that no one else knew of his donations during 2016 to 2018 except for Ahmad Zahid.
Reading out these excerpts, Teh highlighted Wong having told the court previously that he would verbally make an akad or an Islamic agreement every time he handed over the donations via cheques to Ahmad Zahid, where he declared his intention to donate only for the purposes of mosques while Ahmad Zahid would declare his intention to accept the donation.
“That’s important, akad is intention, the sincerity on his part to give a donation,” Hisyam said, noting that Wong had declared his intention via the akad for the donations to build mosques and nothing else.
Wong had also told Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers in court previously that there is no need for receipts if there is already an akad for a Muslim’s contribution involving religious purposes, and that there is also no need for invoices and proof of payment as there is already an akad.
“His intention was innocent,” Teh said, adding that Wong had previously also told the court that he had visited the mosque site in Melaka during construction.
“Jimmy Wong, it’s quite clear from the evidence, cross-examination and evidence-in-chief, his intention was pure donation for mosques. So the submission by the prosecution that he is corrupt is totally misconceived,” Teh argued.
On Thursday last week, Hisyam had also addressed the court on Wong’s cheques — which were linked to around 12 of the 27 money-laundering charges against Ahmad Zahid — and which were placed by Lewis & Co in fixed deposits together with cheques from other companies and individuals.
Last week, Hisyam said Wong had merely borrowed money from MYEG for the donations, but that the funds used were ultimately from Wong and that there was nothing suspicious about such funds.
Hisyam had also argued that Wong’s donations were not proceeds from unlawful activities, and that the donations were in Wong’s personal capacity.
As the funds involved have to be proven to be proceeds from unlawful activities in order for money laundering charges to be established, Hisyam had argued that the money laundering charges involving cheques from Wong cannot be continued against Ahmad Zahid.
In this trial, Ahmad Zahid ― who is a former home 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.
The trial, where 99 prosecution witnesses had testified previously over 53 days, has now reached the end of the prosecution’s case.
Both the prosecution and Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers are to present their final arguments verbally before the court decides if the prosecution has made out a prima facie case for all 47 charges and whether Ahmad Zahid has to enter his defence. If the court finds that there is no prima facie case, Ahmad Zahid would be acquitted and released from the charges.
It is yet to be the prosecution’s turn to present its arguments verbally in court.
Last week, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers had argued to the court on why he should have “immunity” from being prosecuted for 46 of the 47 charges that he is facing, further arguing that the 12 criminal breach of trust charges against him cannot stand.
Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers had also last week argued that 25 of the 27 money laundering charges against him cannot stand, with Hisyam having concluded his arguments today on why the 26th money laundering charge should fall.
The trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah will resume tomorrow morning.
Hisyam is expected to present further arguments tomorrow on why Ahmad Zahid should not be prosecuted for the 27th money laundering charge, which involves Ahmad Zahid’s alleged instructions to moneychanger Omar Ali Abdullah to convert alleged illegal proceeds of RM6,885,270.20 or RM6.8 million from cash into 30 cheques that were then given to law firm Lewis & Co to be placed in fixed deposits.
Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers had throughout the trial sought to suggest that Lewis & Co is a law firm that acts as a trustee and holds money on trust for Yayasan Akalbudi.
By : IDA LIM – MALAY MAIL