Zahid trial: Country Heights bungalow purchases ‘odd’ as Yayasan Akalbudi had no documents to show for them, court told

Danial Dzulkifly
·3-min read
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur March 8, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur March 8, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — There was no official paperwork to show that Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, through Yayasan Akalbudi, actually paid and donated two bungalows in Country Heights in 2017 to his family’s charitable foundation, Yayasan Al-Falah, an investigative officer of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) told the High Court today.

Instead, the payments for the two bungalows worth RM5.9 million were made by law firm Lewis & Co, where throughout the trial, Zahid’s lawyers had sought to suggest that the firm acted as a trustee for Yayasan Akalbudi, which has links to Zahid.

Testifying as the 94th witness in the trial, MACC investigator Mohd Tharuzi Mohd Nor said he finds the situation to be “odd’’ when quizzed deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi on the findings of his investigations.

Sazilee: In terms of documentation, did you find anything odd?

Tharuzi: There was no documentation to be found from Yayasan Akalbudi [on the bungalow purchases].

Sazile: What other issues that you found to be odd?

Tharuzi: There was also no cash or donation from Yayasan Akalbudi to Yayasan Al Falah for the bungalow purchases.

Tharuzi also produced a flowchart in court today, explaining that the RM5.9 million used to pay for the bungalow actually originated from a total of RM7 million parked under law firm Lewis & Co, which they received from two main sources.

The sources are shown to be from Mastaro Kenny IT company which paid RM5 million and another RM2 million from businessmen Mubarak Hussain Akhtar Husin.

Under cross-examination by Zahid’s lawyer, Mohd Haziq Dhiyauddin Razali, Tharuzi agreed that based on the flow chart, none of the monies went into Zahid’s personal account but disagreed with the assertion that the monies were not from illegal proceeds.

While both foundations have links to Zahid, Yayasan Akalbudi, which have been touted to carry out charitable activities, is meant specifically for the Bagan Datoh MP.

Yayasan Al-Falah also carried out the same activities but is meant for Zahid’s family and is also chaired by his younger brother, Datuk Seri Mohamad Nasaee Ahmad Tarmizi.

In June of last year, Al-Falah’s board of trustee member, lawyer Faisalludin Mohamat Yusuff testified that he was handed a cheque of RM5.9 million by Nasaee for the purchases of the bungalow.

Faisalludin also stated that he had never questioned Nasaee on why the cheque was issued by Lewis & Co but agreed with the assertion by Zahid’s lawyer that Yayasan Akalbudi and Lewis & Co’s alleged donation to Yayasan Al-Falah to buy the Country Heights properties could be considered wakaf or endowment for religious purpose.

Later in the day, another MACC officer took the stand, Fahmee Mohd Nor to testify that Zahid, through himself, his companies, families and allies had allegedly issued 35 cheques from five banks and engaged in money laundering activities.

During his investigations, Fahme explained that all the 35 cheques, issued by Lewis & Co, were handled by Bukit Bintang based moneychanger Omar Ali Abdullah.

Omar allegedly had exchanged the cheques for cash or foreign currency said Fahmee.

Zahid, a former deputy prime minister and currently the Umno president, is on trial on 47 charges. Of the total, 12 counts are for criminal breach of trust in relation to Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts for money-laundering, and eight counts for bribery.

The trial in front of High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.

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