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No evidence for corruption charges against Zahid, lawyer tells court

He says none of the prosecution witnesses spoke of any corrupt elements on the part of Zahid Hamidi.

3 minute read
Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur today. Photo: Bernama
Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur today. Photo: Bernama

The High Court was told today that there was no evidence to suggest that Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had committed any misconduct involving millions of ringgit in funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.

Zahid’s lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said the accused should not have been prosecuted at all for the eight corruption charges (Charges 11 until 18) he faces based on the poor quality of evidence adduced.

“It is no coincidence that none of their star witnesses has testified that there is a corrupt element on the part of the accused,” he said.

Hisyam added that prosecution witnesses Junaith Asharab Md Shariff, Abu Hanifah Noordin, Chew Ben Ben and Azlan Shah Jaffril had told the court that the money given to Zahid was meant for charity and political donations and not bribery.

“Out of all the four witnesses for the corruption charges, not a single one has said the money was corruptly given (to Zahid).

“We find it very strange why the charges were filed… unless they (the prosecution) can cite any case where a person is charged even though witnesses are saying that the money was not a form of bribe,” the lawyer said.

Here, judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said irrespective of the intention of the witnesses, the contract was awarded and money was given to Zahid.

Sequerah: Where the prosecution is coming from, it doesn’t really matter what the four witnesses said about their intention.

Hisyam: Donations and charity are innocent, not illegal under the law. Not a single witness said the money which was given to Zahid is corrupt money or bribery.

Hisyam further submitted that the witnesses had maintained their statements that whatever amount was given to his client was a political or charitable donation.

Meanwhile, submitting on the 16th, 17th and 18th charges, Hisyam said there was no nexus found between the RM2 million to Zahid and the appointment of Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd (PRSB) as the operator of the one-stop centre (OSC) for the Pakistan and Nepal visa processing centres by the home ministry.

Hisyam referred the court to three cheque butts mentioned in the three charges which he said were “contemporaneous and carry great weight”.

“On the cheque butts for the sums of RM300,000 and RM700,000, the word ‘charity’ was written while ‘political donation for TPM’ was written on the RM1,000,000 cheque butt, all payable to law firm Lewis & Co which was the trustee of YAB (Zahid).

“Azlan Shah (SP38) in his evidence, both given in examination-in-chief and in cross-examination, never said or made the slightest hint that these payments were rewards given to the accused for appointing PRSB as the operator of the OSC for both Pakistan and Nepal. In fact, he strongly denied they were rewards in the context of these charges,” said the lawyer.

Hisyam said SP38 also confirmed during his testimony that no one had instructed him to write “charity” on the two cheque butts.

“In addition, SP38 said he wrote ‘political donation for TPM’ on the RM1,000,000 cheque as it was meant to assist the government of the day for the nearing election season.

“Charges 16, 17 and 18 will fall flat to the ground,” said Hisyam.

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.

The prosecution will start its submission tomorrow.