The prosecution in the case of former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds today amended a money laundering charge by making changes to the number and value of the cheques in question.
“I understand this (amended) charge is to make the sentence heftier for me. Thank you… I plead not guilty,” Zahid said.
He made the plea after the amended charge in the money laundering case involving the Yayasan Akalbudi funds was read to him before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah before commencement of the trial.
Deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffry Ong had applied to the court to amend the 27th charge in terms of value and number of cheques.
The amendment saw “RM6,885,300.20” and “30 cheques” replaced with “RM7,511,250.20” and “35 cheques”.
According to the amended charge, Zahid allegedly committed the offence by being directly involved in a transaction involving proceeds from illegal activities by ordering Omar Ali Abdullah to convert for him cash amounting to RM7,511,250.20 into 35 cheques that were later handed over to Messrs Lewis & Co for the purpose of opening fixed deposit accounts in Maybank.
Zahid, who is Bagan Datuk MP, was alleged to have committed the offence at Marhaba Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Jalan Bukit Bintang on March 29, 2016 and July 15, 2016.
He faces 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit in funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
The money laundering charges under Section 4 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 are punishable under Section 4 (1) of the same law which provides for imprisonment of up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of the proceeds from unlawful activities or RM5 million, whichever is higher, upon conviction.