Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Converting RM7.5 million into cheques was money laundering, witness says in Zahid’s graft case

MACC investigating officer Mohd Fahmee Mohamad Nor says this is based on his investigation into the case involving the former deputy prime minister.

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The Kuala Lumpur High Court was today told that the process of converting RM7.5 million in cash into 35 cheques in the case involving Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was money laundering derived from illegal sources.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Mohd Fahmee Mohamad Nor, 39, said this was based on his investigation into the case involving the former deputy prime minister.

Fahmee, the 95th prosecution witness, was speaking on the 49th day of the trial of Zahid, who is facing corruption, abuse of power and money laundering charges involving millions of ringgit in funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.

According to the 27th money laundering charge, Zahid is alleged to have ordered money changer Omar Ali Abdullah to convert RM7,511,250.20 in cash into 35 cheques to be deposited into law firm Lewis & Co to purchase fixed deposits in Maybank.

During re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffrey Ong, Fahmee said according to Omar Ali, he did not know the individuals who gave him the money, which he converted into cheques under the name of Messrs Lewis & Co, the trustee of Zahid’s Yayasan Akalbudi.

“Omar Ali only said that the individuals were neatly dressed and that the money was given on Zahid’s instructions,” he said.

Yesterday, Fahmee told the court that Omar Ali had received a large amount of money from unknown individuals around his company Syarikat Marhaba Enterprise Sdn Bhd premises.

Asked whether the investigation had found that the money was a donation from charity foundation Yayasan Albukhary, Fahmee said no.

“The investigation did not find any receipt showing that the money was a donation from the foundation,” he added.

“Yayasan Al Bukhary is a big foundation, but I did not conduct an in-depth investigation on it. I did not look at Yayasan Albukhary’s accounts and did not record a statement from Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary.

“I decided not to conduct a detailed investigation because Omar Ali did not know the individuals who gave him the money,” he said.

On whether he had been contacted by anyone from Yayasan Al Bukhary after Omar Ali testified in Zahid’s trial, Fahmee said no.

Earlier, when asked by lawyer Ahmad Zaidi Zainal who is representing Zahid whether he knew that Omar Ali had testified in court that the money was a donation from Yayasan Al Bukhary, Fahmee did not answer.

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

The trial continues before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

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