Thursday, May 19, 2022

Why a bagful of cash, asks judge in Zahid trial

But defence lawyer argues that since there has not been an investigation, the charge ought to be dropped.

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The judge in the corruption trial of Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today questioned why a purported donation comprising millions of ringgit from Yayasan Albukhary to Yayasan Akalbudi was made in cash and not cheques.

High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah posed the question to Zahid’s lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik who was arguing for the 27th money-laundering charge against the politician to be dropped.

“All this cash meant to be a donation from Yayasan Albukhary to Yayasan Akalbudi? Wouldn’t it be easier to write a cheque? Why bring a bagful of cash?” Sequerah asked.

“That’s our complaint. The prosecution did not investigate it. The answer can only come from Yayasan Albukhary,” said Hisyam.

“We asked the investigating officer, but the investigating officer never investigated. Because there was no investigation, we cannot say the cash was proceeds from an unlawful activity, unless and until they investigate, and unless and until they call a witness from Yayasan Albukhary before you and give evidence.”

Hisyam said as there had been no investigation, it could not be said that the money was from illegal proceeds.

“We challenge and invite the prosecution to show us evidence that Yayasan Albukhary never donated,” he added.

On July 27 last year, a money changer who allegedly laundered money on behalf of Zahid told the court that the former deputy prime minister had asked him to help deposit donations into the accounts of Yayasan Akalbudi, Zahid’s charitable foundation.

Omar Ali Abdullah said several men from Yayasan Albukhary would arrange to meet him at various locations.

He said during the first meeting at the ground floor of Fahrenheit Plaza, a man unknown to him passed him a bag filled with cash.

Zahid, 68, is facing 47 charges, 12 for CBT, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering, involving millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

He is accused of being engaged directly in a transaction involving proceeds from a lawful activity by giving instruction for the purchase of two property lots with a RM5.9 million cheque issued by law firm Messrs Lewis & Co.

The defence will continue its submission tomorrow.

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