Thursday, November 25, 2021

Defence denies Zahid committed criminal breach of trust

His lawyer refutes the prosecution's claim that Yayasan Akalbudi funds were embezzled for the purchase of a hotel in Bali.

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The High Court in Kuala Lumpur was told yesterday that one of the charges against former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, of allegedly embezzling Yayasan Akalbudi funds, did not mention the sales agreement and purchase of a hotel in Bali, Indonesia.

Counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, representing Zahid, said the matter was irrelevant to the charge when the prosecution claimed that part of the RM17.9 million in funds was misused for a share purchase deal.

“As far as the charge is concerned, there is no mention of the sale of shares from Abdul Rashid Manaf (83rd prosecution witness), no mention of Ri-Yaz Assets (Ri-Yaz Assets Sdn Bhd), no mention of Mohammad Shaheen Shah Mohd Sidek (84th prosecution witness), no mention of the purchase of the hotel in Bali, and no mention of the sales agreement (shares).

“Such fundamental circumstances, as all the evidence adduced by Rashid, Mohammad Shaheen Shah, are totally irrelevant to the charge,” he said in his submission in reply to the prosecution’s case against Zahid, who is facing 47 charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), corruption and money laundering involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds.

“This narrative produced by the prosecution, the evidence (produced by the prosecution) is irrelevant. Nothing else beyond the four corners of the charge,” he added.

Last week, the prosecution told the court that the withdrawal of RM17.9 million from Yayasan Akalbudi funds by Zahid was, among others, to facilitate his daughter’s bid to buy a boutique hotel in Bali.

Zahid’s eldest daughter, Nurulhidayah, had been interested in taking over the shares of Ri-Yaz Assets Sdn Bhd and in running the hotel in Bali.

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

For the 12 CBT charges, Zahid is alleged to have used the funds to make six payments for his personal credit cards usage, insurance policies and licences for his personal vehicles, remittances to a law firm and contributions to the Royal Malaysia Police football association.

The offences were allegedly committed at the Affin Bank branch in Jalan Bunus, off Jalan Masjid India, between Jan 13, 2014 and Dec 23, 2016. The charge, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, provides for a jail term of between two and 20 years, with whipping and a fine, upon conviction.

The hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah will continue on Nov 22, after Zahid returns from Munich, Germany where he will be seeking medical treatment.

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