MACC officer: Zahid didn’t show proof, say how much he had allegedly donated to own charity Yayasan Akalbudi

(MMO) – Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had not produced any evidence to back his claims of having donated to Yayasan Akalbudi ― a charitable foundation where he was a trustee, a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigator told the High Court today.

MACC officer Khairudin Kilau was testifying as the 99th prosecution witness in Zahid’s ongoing trial, where the Umno president is facing 47 charges ― including 12 charges of criminal breach of trust over around RM31 million of Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds by allegedly diverting such funds for other uses.

Today, Khairudin confirmed that Zahid had during MACC investigations claimed that he had contributed to Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, but said that no evidence was produced to back up such a claim.

“In my investigations, Datuk Seri never said how much was actually donated into Yayasan Akalbudi and Datuk Seri never presented any documentary proof of those donations of funds,” the MACC officer told the High Court when asked by deputy public prosecutor Lee Keng Fatt.

As for the around RM100 million funds that were recorded as having entered Yayasan Akalbudi’s sole bank account from 1997 until May 2018, Khairudin agreed that this was a period spanning around 20 years and which would have required on average annual sums of RM5 million to be deposited.

Lee: If the donations were made by Datuk Seri, on average, how much has to be donated each year?

Khairudin: Based on simple maths, around RM5 million a year to complete the RM100 million.

Yesterday, Khairudin had confirmed bank statements of Yayasan Akalbudi’s account with Affin Bank, which he agreed showed around RM100 million as having been deposited into the account since it was opened in 1997 until May 2018 and funds totalling around RM100 million as having been taken out of the account during the same period.

Zahid’s lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal yesterday sought to suggest that Yayasan Akalbudi’s source of funds originated from Zahid himself from “donations he received, from his salary, from his investments in shares”, but the MACC officer Khairudin yesterday said only Zahid had claimed during investigations to have contributed to Yayasan Akalbudi and that no other witnesses in the case had said the same thing.

Under the 47 criminal charges faced by Zahid, he is accused of having allegedly accepted bribes and misappropriated Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds which he was entrusted with such as by using them for credit card bills, and with having allegedly committed money-laundering by having transferred such funds to law firm Lewis & Co.

Throughout the trial, Zahid’s lawyers had however sought to suggest to the prosecution’s witnesses that Lewis & Co was actually a trustee holding the funds on behalf of Yayasan Akalbudi.

Today, Zahid’s lead defence lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik quizzed Khairudin, suggesting that there was no basis in law and facts to all the 47 charges, including a charge where Zahid was accused of committing criminal breach of trust by transferring RM17,953,185.21 or RM17.9 million of Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds to Lewis & Co in June 2016.

Khairudin disagreed that the 47 charges were baseless or without basis, further disagreeing that baseless charges would cause a person’s reputation to be damaged.

Agreeing with Hisyam that the RM17.9 million was deposited into Lewis & Co’s client’s account and that this meant that the owner of the funds were still the law firm’s client, Khairudin however said that Yayasan Akalbudi is not a client of the law firm.

Agreeing with Hisyam that such funds did not “go in into” Zahid’s “pockets”, Khairudin however disagreed that no offence had been committed.

Hisyam: If the ownership of the funds is Lewis & Co’s client, I say there is no breach of trust at all.

Khairudin: Disagree.

Asked by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran who was leading the prosecution in Zahid’s case, Khairudin clarified: “In my investigations, there was no oral testimony or documents that showed Lewis & Co’s appointment as trustee for Yayasan Akalbudi.”

Asked by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi on who had issued instructions to Lewis & Co or its partner Muralidharan Balan Pillai when Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds were transferred to Lewis & Co, Khairudin said his investigations had shown that Muralidharan and Lewis & Co received instructions directly from Zahid and that there were no resolutions from Yayasan Akalbudi’s trustees on the transfer of funds.

Today, Khairudin also told the prosecution’s Lee that Yayasan Akalbudi’s trustees did not protest over how the charitable foundation’s funds were used, as they were not informed of such usage and as these matters were not discussed with them.

As for Zahid’s December 31, 2020 police report regarding his disagreement with what Lewis & Co’s Muralidharan had told the court during the trial, Khairudin pointed out that the police report was lodged about four months after Muralidharan had appeared as a prosecution witness.

Zahid’s lawyer Zaidi yesterday tried to suggest that a RM1.3 million cheque in November 2015 from Yayasan Akalbudi to Persatuan Bola Sepak PDRM was a “loan” and that the football association later repaid RM1 million, but Khairudin had disagreed it amounted to a “loan”.

Asked by Lee, Khairudin said his investigations did not show Persatuan Bola Sepak PDRM as having repaid any money to Yayasan Akalbudi, while also saying that any loans should be repaid in full, such as the RM1.3 million sum being repaid if it was indeed a loan.

Khairudin said that Yayasan Akalbudi previously failed in an attempt to amend its objectives, which meant that it could not give out loans as it would go against the objectives listed in the foundation’s constitution or memorandum and articles of association.

While Zahid’s lawyers had previously sought to dispute cheques issued out by Yayasan Akalbudi as not having been signed by him as a stamp of his signature was sometimes used or that they were pre-signed blank cheques, Khairudin said his investigations had shown that the stamp of Zahid’s signature had been used for certificates, invitation cards and also for cheques even before Major Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly became Zahid’s executive secretary.

The cheques in this trial included cheques where Mazlina had stamped on Zahid’s signatures, which the former executive secretary of Zahid had said was done under his authorisation while his lawyers have disputed this.

Khairudin also said his investigations did not show that there were pre-signed cheques in this case.

As for claims during the trial that a businessman named Azlan Shah Jaffril had made a RM2 million as a political donation to Zahid, Khairudin said: “If someone wants to make a political donation, it should be channelled to the treasurers of the related political parties.”

In this trial, Zahid ― who is also a former home minister ― 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 prosecution today closed its case, after 53 days of court proceedings since the trial started on November 18, 2019.

The High Court then fixed June 28, 29, 30 and July 1 and 2 for both the prosecution and Zahid’s lawyers to present their submissions before a decision is made by the court on whether Zahid would have to enter his defence or can be released from the charges.