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Judge to make site visit to bungalows in Zahid's graft trial

Collin Lawrence Sequerah says he will accede to the request for a site visit in the interest of justice.

2 minute read
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, who is presiding over Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption trial, will make a site visit to two bungalow units in Country Heights, Kajang, which were allegedly bought with Yayasan Akalbudi funds for use as Quran centres for retirees and tahfiz students.

"I think in the interest of justice, I will accede to the request for a site visit, but we can fix that for another time. We can arrange the dates later," the judge said in response to an invitation by defence lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik since the two properties were the subject of one of the 27 money laundering charges against Zahid.

Hisyam had said that the visit would give a clear picture of the current status of the bungalows, their location and the distance of both lots from Surau An-Nur.

However, deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran said the site visit was unnecessary as photos of the two properties could be produced in court.

"For us to actually take the trip, it's not really about what renovation. There was a purchase. 

"I think I would decline the invitation to visit the bungalow lots. It's not necessary. If Your Lordship is inclined to go visiting, perhaps we can take another day, not this time, so it will not clash (trial date)," she said.
Earlier, Zahid told the court that the two bungalows were closest to Surau An-Nur in Country Heights and far from his residence, which was also in Country Heights.

The Bagan Datuk MP said this when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong on the distance between the two bungalows and his residence.

He also told the court that he was the chairman of Surau An-Nur and that there was another surau in the area as well as in his house where he could pray.

On the purchase of the two bungalows worth RM5.9 million, Zahid said he could not ascertain who had prepared the cheque, but that the purchase was handled by lawyer B Muralidharan of Messrs Lewis & Co.

He also told the court that there was no official letter in the appointment of Messrs Lewis & Co as the trustee of the Yayasan Akalbudi fund.
"The appointment (of Lewis & Co) was made when I lost faith in (my former executive secretary) Major Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly because she was careless and made repeated mistakes in handling the Yayasan Akalbudi account," he said in his defence proceedings on 47 charges of breach of trust, corruption and money laundering.

To a question by Ong about the need  for a letter of appointment to prevent a similar incident, Zahid said it was not important and that neither Muralidharan nor the legal firm had requested for the letter.

"There was no official letter," he said. "I have known Muralidharan for a long time and sought the advice of friends as well as former lawyers. So far there is no negligence committed by the firm in handling Yayasan Akalbudi funds."

 The trial before Sequerah continues.