Trial: Trustee says Zahid’s family owned Yayasan Akalbudi, confirms charitable projects including overseas

Ida Lim
Datuk Khairuddin Tarmizi is seen at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 10, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — The charitable organisation Yayasan Akalbudi is owned by the family of former deputy prime minister and current Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a trustee of the fund told the High Court today.

Yayasan Akalbudi trustee Datuk Khairuddin Tarmizi, who is also Umno’s Hutan Melintang state assemblyman, shared his belief regarding the organisation’s ownership.

“In my knowledge, Yayasan Akalbudi is a foundation owned by Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s family and is intended to do welfare work and alms,” Khairuddin said during Zahid’s corruption trial.

Khairuddin has been a member of Yayasan Akalbudi’s board of trustee without pay since 2012  on the invitation of Zahid, and today said that Zahid would usually tell those seeking financial assistance that he would ask for his family’s nod.

“In Datuk Seri’s speech in the constituency when there are applications, he said I will discuss with my family members first for approval,” he explained when noting why he believed Yayasan Akalbudi to be under Zahid’s family’s ownership.

Zahid is the MP of the federal constituency of Bagan Datuk, which also includes Hutan Melintang where Khairuddin is the assemblyman. Khairuddin is also Bagan Datuk Umno’s deputy chief.

Khairuddin said he has since 2008 made a trip from Hutan Melintang to Kuala Lumpur every two weeks to meet with Zahid over matters involving the Bagan Datuk constituency, adding that this included requests for financial allocations from the community which Zahid would approve.

As Yayasan Akalbudi’s trustee, Khairuddin said that his understanding was that “because Yayasan Akalbudi is owned in total by Zahid and his family, there is no problem in claims before this.”

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is seen at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 10, 2019. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

Cross-examined by Zahid’s lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, Khairuddin agreed that the source of Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds are all from Zahid since the organisation was formed.

Khairuddin said he was uncertain if others had contributed to Yayasan Akalbudi through Zahid, later agreeing that Zahid would tend to enter into a bai’ah or akad or undertaking with contributors who financially contribute to the fund.

Zaidi then went on to ask why Zahid would put contributed funds into Yayasan Akalbudi’s account instead of his personal account if such funds were actually bribes, but Khairuddin said he was unable to answer this.

Khairuddin agreed with Zaidi that a large part of Zahid’s monthly income went into Yayasan Akalbudi’s account.

Zaidi: And based on that answer, that means personal funds and Yayasan’s funds had mixed in Yayasan Akalbudi?

Khairuddin: Mungkin. (Possibly.)

Zaidi: Just now you agree with me that most of his salary he put into Yayasan’s account and also there are contributions from third parties. With such a situation, Datuk Seri Zahid’s money and Yayasan contributions had mixed.

Khairuddin: Yes, correct.

Khairuddin, who had earlier shared his understanding of political donation as being intended to help society and the needy, said he had never objected to Yayasan Akalbudi’s financial transactions and activities which he believed were all done for good.

Zaidi had also provided a long list of multiple donations to local institutions such as mosques, surau (prayer halls) and to groups such as orphans and students, as well as some projects abroad.

Khairuddin confirmed having knowledge of such contributions by Yayasan Akalbudi and Zahid, including the building of mosques in China, Cape Town in South Africa, Perth in Australia, and in Southern Thailand; building of tahfiz schools in Pahang, Kelantan, Southern Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia, as well as the printing of the Muslims’ holy book Al-Quran to countries where Muslims are the minority such as Cambodia, China and South Korea.

Khairuddin also confirmed having been told by Zahid of the sponsorship for flight tickets and hotel accommodation for police and security forces in Ukraine during the MH17 flight tragedy.

When asked by deputy public prosecutor Lee Keng Fatt, Khairuddin however confirmed that he had never seen the receipts for the alleged financial contributions made by Yayasan Akalbudi, and had also not seen the receipts for the construction of various buildings such as mosques that the fund allegedly contributed to.

When asked who will own the money that is contributed to Yayasan Akalbudi via Zahid through the akad or undertaking method, Khairuddin said he understood that such funds would belong to both Yayasan Akalbudi and Zahid.

In this trial where Zahid is facing 47 charges, the prosecution had previously said it would prove that Zahid had misappropriated RM31 million from charitable organisation Yayasan Akalbudi with a substantial portion allegedly spent on other matters such as personal credit card bills, vehicle insurance and road tax.

The trial before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes tomorrow.



 

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