The High Court was today told that Ahmad Zahid Hamidi requested a RM10 million donation from a Singaporean entrepreneur for Yayasan Akalbudi, owned by the former deputy prime minister, through Tetuan Lewis & Co.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Christ Sheldon Anak Merun, 32, said at the meeting between Wong Sang Woo @ Wong Shuh Chain who is a director of Chia Bee Enterprise Sdn Bhd and Zahid at a dinner in 2015, the accused said the contribution was to assist the poor and needy people.
“Wong knew Zahid for the first time in 2015 at a dinner. Zahid introduced himself as the home minister and Wong introduced himself as an entrepreneur from Singapore involved in share investment, timber business, property investment, fashion attire and delivery agent.
“Wong said during the dinner, Zahid asked him to donate as a philanthropist and Wong agreed to donate to Yayasan Akalbudi founded by Zahid.
“At the end of the dinner, Zahid mentioned a sum of RM10 million to Wong and he (Wong) said he would consider it as he needed time to come up with the amount,” he said, reading from his witness statement during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffrey Ong.
Christ Sheldon, the 98th witness, said this on the 51st day of the trial of Zahid who is facing charges of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving funds of Yayasan Akalbudi.
A total of 98 witnesses including nine MACC investigating officers have testified and another investigating officer will be called before the prosecution closes its case.
Yesterday, MACC investigating officer Mohd Amirudin Nordin, 38, told the court that MACC had recorded a conversation with Wong to carry out the investigation into the RM10 million contribution from Chia Bee to Yayasan Akalbudi via Lewis & Co.
Amirudin, who is the 96th prosecution witness, said Wong could not be detected to give his statement in court and a check with the immigration department showed he is now overseas.
According to Amirudin, his investigation found no supporting documents or letters to say the 10 cheques from Chia Bee amounting to RM10 million were donations.
Christ Sheldon, who recorded the conversation with Wong at a hotel in Kuching, Sarawak, on Feb 22 2019, said in early 2016, Wong received a call from a person who was ordered by Zahid to enquire about the RM10 million and to clarify to Wong that it was for the charity work of Yayasan Akalbudi.
“Wong believed the request was true as the person also referred to the conversation between him and Zahid at a dinner in 2015 and told him to make the donation payment to Tetuan Lewis & Co (a trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi),” he said.
He said Wong gave the contribution through his company (Chia Bee) as he felt it was a privilege when the deputy prime minister asked for donations for Yayasan Akalbudi.
“As the owner of Chia Bee, he had the right to use the company to make the contribution. Wong used Chia Bee to make the donation as he wanted to raise the profile of the company in Malaysia,” he said.
Christ Sheldon said Wong ordered the eligible cheque signatories to prepare 10 cheques for a sum of RM1 million each as requested by Zahid, and that he did not know why the cheques had to be made separately and not in a single amount.
“Wong could not remember the person who asked him to issue the cheque as he was not in Malaysia at that time, and Wong did not contact Zahid after the meeting in 2015 but in 2016 he knew that Zahid had become the deputy prime minister,” said the witness who joined MACC in 2014.
On the RM10 million loan from KTS Holdings Sdn Bhd, Christ Sheldon said Wong had borrowed RM10 million from KTS through a friend, Ngu Ngiong Hieng who passed away in 2017.
“Wong said based on his friendship with Ngu, he was able to ask for the financial assistance of RM10 million as a temporary loan to enable him meet the pledge to Zahid to donate to Yayasan Akalbudi.
“On the temporary loan obtained from Ngu, there was no agreement or documentation as it was based on their friendship and trust,” he said.
According to the witness, Zahid told his people to contact Wong for the contribution in early 2016 and Wong later arranged for the donation to be handed through his company with payment made on April 21, 2016.
Zahid, 68, is facing 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption, and 27 for money laundering involving millions of funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
The trial is being heard before justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah.