Zahid asked for almost RM18m from Yayasan Akalbudi to be transferred to trustee law firm, says witness

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had personally instructed for the liquidation of almost RM18 million from the Yayasan Akalbudi foundation’s fixed deposit accounts to be issued to a law firm by way of banker’s cheques, the High Court was told today. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had personally instructed for the liquidation of almost RM18 million from the Yayasan Akalbudi foundation’s fixed deposit accounts to be issued to a law firm by way of banker’s cheques, the High Court was told today.

The instructions, given to the Jalan Bunus Affin Bank branch, was for them to issue seven cheques worth RM17,963,185.21 to be made out to the Messrs Lewis & Co law firm, supposedly to fund the construction of buildings in Bagan Datuk, Perak, for purposes of the foundation.

Narimah Miswadi, the prosecution’s sixth witness, made the revelation during today’s proceedings adding how the instructions were given to her by Zahid during a June 2016 meeting at his office in Putrajaya.

The 47-year-old Affin Bank operations officer told the court how an instruction letter was then given to her by Zahid’s personal assistant, one Major Mazlina, that was signed by him.

“The letter stated the intentions to make withdrawals from all the fixed deposit accounts, principle amount and profit rates, which were with Affin Bank on June 23, 2016, through banker’s cheques under the name Messrs Lewis & Co.

“Based on the instructions of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, I made an application for approval from the headquarters to allow Yayasan Akalbudi to use banker’s cheques to make the payments to Messrs Lewis & Co,” she said when reading out her witness statement today.

Narimah said she then forwarded the letter to the relevant bank departments in accordance with its process flow, where it was later approved and the funds deposited to the law firm from Affin Bank account number 100950008188.

She then verified the original cheques used for the transaction, which were presented and tendered in court as evidence.

Proceedings today were before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, with Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran and Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Keng Fatt appearing for the prosecution.

Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal conducted the cross-examination as the defence counsel representing Zahid.

During the cross-examination, Ahmad Zaidi had asked the witness if she knew the ‘buildings’ mentioned by Zahid actually were actually tahfiz schools and mosques meant to be constructed in Perak, to which she replied in the negative.

Ahmad Zaidi had also asked Narimah if she was curious as to why the funds were requested to be withdrawn by way of cheques and not through direct payments for the construction of the buildings.

She then replied that she could not go against the deputy prime minister’s personal instructions and did as she was told.

“That time Datuk Seri Zahid was the deputy prime minister, so I could not refuse instructions from him,” she answered.

The trial where Zahid is facing 47 charges of misappropriation, corruption and criminal breach of trust involving millions of funds from the Yayasan Akalbudi resumes tomorrow morning.

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