Zahid seeking to have corruption charges dropped due to ‘new evidence’

(NST) – Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is seeking to have his charges for misappropriating RM31 million of funds from his foundation Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) dropped.

Zahid’s lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh, during the hearing of the case today, said the defence has submitted a representation to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) due to new evidence in the case.

Hamidi also asked Court of Appeal judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah, who is sitting as a High Court judge, to adjourn the proceedings pending a decision from Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun (on the representation).

He said the 200-page long representation letter was sent to Idrus earlier this year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Abdul Malik Ayob confirmed that the AGC had received the letter.

He said the prosecution was ordered not to object on the defence’s application to adjourn the case.

The court allowed the adjournment and fixed Aug 1 for mention.

On Jan 24, last year, the Umno president was ordered to enter his defence against all 47 corruption charges involving funds from YAB, a charity foundation which he had set up.

Sequerah ruled that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the 68-year old Umno president on all 12 criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight corruption and 27 money laundering charges.

Zahid had pleaded not guilty to 12 CBT charges, eight counts of bribery and 27 for money laundering, involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to YAB.

For the CBT charges, Zahid is alleged to have used the funds to make six payments for his personal credit card usage, insurance policy and licence for his personal vehicles, remittances to a law firm and contributions to the Royal Malaysia Police Football Association.

The offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank Bhd branch on Jalan Bunus, off Jalan Masjid India here between Jan 13, 2014 and Dec 23, 2016.

The charges, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, provide for a jail term of between two and 20 years, and with whipping and a fine, upon conviction.

Zahid is also charged with eight counts of bribery, where he is alleged to have accepted bribes from three companies, namely Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, Data Sonic Group Bhd and Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd, as an inducement for him, in his capacity as home minister then, to help the companies to obtain MyEG projects, supply passport chips and to be appointed the operator of the migrant visa one-stop centres in Pakistan and Nepal, respectively.

He was charged with committing the offences, framed under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, at the Maybank branch at Dataran Maybank on Jalan Maarof, Bangsar here between July 15, 2016 and March 15, 2018.

The Bagan Datuk member of parliament also faces 27 charges of money laundering by engaging in direct transactions involving income from illegal activities between March 29, 2016 and April 11, 2018.

All the offences were allegedly committed at the Malayan Banking Bhd Dataran Maybank branch on Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, and Marhaba Enterprise Sdn Bhd on Jalan Bukit Bintang here between March 29, 2016 and April 11, 2018.

The charge carries a maximum of 20 years’ jail, whipping and a fine.