Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Zahid never promised MyEG project to businessman, lawyer tells court

Defence counsel says the businessman himself had affirmed that cheques amounting to RM13 million were given as a donation for charitable purposes.

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The High Court was told today that Ahmad Zahid Hamidi never promised a textile wholesaler any MyEG project in return for RM13 million given to him in 23 cheques via law firm Messrs Lewis & Co, the trustee of his charity outfit Yayasan Akalbudi.

Lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, representing Zahid, submitted that textile wholesaler Junaith Asharab Md Shariff, the 36th prosecution witness, had testified under oath that the 23 cheques amounting to RM13 million were not given as a bribe or inducement.

“Junaith in his testimony said it was rather his personal contribution or donation for religious or charitable purposes, namely to build a mosque and a tahfiz school.

“Charges number 12 and 13, out of the 47 charges faced by my client, cannot stand as the evidence has shown that the RM13 million tied to the charges was meant for the construction of a mosque and a tahfiz school in Bagan Datuk,” he said in his submission at the end of the prosecution’s case before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

The 12th charge against Zahid is for allegedly having received a bribe from Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services in the form of 13 RHB Islamic Bank Bhd cheques for RM8 million belonging to Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services through Junaith via the Maybank account of Lewis & Co.

The 13th charge meanwhile accuses Zahid of having received a bribe from Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services in the form of 10 RHB Islamic Bank Bhd cheques for RM5 million belonging to Berani & Jujur Trading through Junaith via the Maybank account of Lewis & Co.

Zahid is accused of having committed these two offences as an inducement to assist Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services to secure MyEG projects handled by the home ministry.

Hisyam then referred the court to Junaith’s witness statement which stated that he (Junaith) and Zahid’s brother Mohamad Nasaee Ahmad Tarmizi went to see Zahid at his residence to deliver the cheques for the purpose of building the mosque and tahfiz school.

“During the cross-examination of Junaith, he also confirmed that the respective 13 and 10 cheques from two companies, Mastoro Kenny and textile company Berani dan Jujur Trading, run by him, were for charitable and donation purposes.

“In fact, upon cross-examination, Junaith also confirmed that the accused never promised him any MyEG project,” he said.

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

As for the 26th money laundering charge, Zahid is accused of having committed the offence by allegedly being engaged directly in a transaction involving proceeds from a lawful activity by giving instruction for the purchase of two property lots using a RM5.9 million cheque issued by Messrs Lewis & Co.

The defence will continue its submission on Sept 20.

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