Monday, January 24, 2022

RM17.9 million from Zahid’s foundation withdrawn without board’s consent, court told

MACC investigating officer also says the withdrawal was at the instruction of Zahid Hamidi.

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The High Court in Kuala Lumpur was told today that the withdrawal of RM17.9 million from Yayasan Akalbudi funds was a criminal breach of trust as it did not have consent from the charity foundation’s board of trustees.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Muhammad Fazli Zulkifli, 36, said the withdrawal of the money from Yayasan Akalbudi’s Affin Bank account to be transferred to a Maybank account belonging to Messrs Lewis & Co, the foundation’s trustee, was at the instruction of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Fazli, the 93rd prosecution witness, said this during re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Sazilee Abdul Khairi on the 48th day of the trial of the former deputy prime minister, who is facing corruption, abuse of power and money laundering charges involving millions of ringgit in funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.

Last Friday, Fazli told the court that Zahid was involved in the withdrawal of RM17.9 million from Yayasan Akalbudi funds for the purchase of shares as well as to be placed as fixed deposits.

Of the amount, he said RM8.6 million was paid to Ri-Yaz Assets Sdn Bhd as deposit for a share purchase with another RM9.3 million to be placed as fixed deposits.

Today, he said all instructions received by Lewis & Co were from Zahid, adding that the firm would not have acted without instruction.

He also confirmed that no other member of Yayasan Akalbudi’s board of trustees had given instructions to Lewis & Co, specifically its partner B Muralidhahran.

On Zahid’s cautioned statement to the MACC during the investigation into the case involving the investment in Ri-Yaz Assets, Fazli said it contradicted the testimony of other witnesses.

“Based on Zahid’s statement, he said Yayasan Akalbudi was interested in investing (in Ri-Yaz Assets) in the hotel sector, but the testimony from other witnesses said that NurulHidayah (Zahid’s daughter) was interested in making an investment and payment was made by Yayasan Akalbudi,” said Fazli.

When asked about the testimony of Rashid Manaf, a shareholder of Ri-Yaz Assets, Fazli said according to Rashid, Nurulhidayah had expressed interest in investing.

Asked whether there were any documents on the investment, Fazli said no.

“It involved only two parties, Nurulhidayah and Rashid. During the investigation I also did not find any document saying that Nurulhidayah was an observer or proxy in Ri-Yaz Assets.”

Zahid, 68, faces 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.

The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.

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