- Advertisement -

Zahid never sacked ex-aide despite accusing her of carelessness, court hears

The defence continues to blame a former secretary to the Umno leader over the use of Yayasan Akalbudi funds to settle his credit card bills.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Photo: Bernama
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Photo: Bernama

A special officer to Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today said the deputy prime minister never removed his executive secretary despite blaming her for being careless, including in the use of a stamp meant for Yayasan Akalbudi's cheques to pay for his personal credit card bills.

Defence witness Mohd Kamal Abdullah told the High Court hearing Zahid's corruption case linked to the charity foundation that Major Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly, who was Zahid's executive secretary when he headed various ministries during the previous Barisan Nasional government, was prone to committing errors, including when arranging her boss' daily schedule.

Among the mistakes, said Kamal, was when Mazlina used a rubber stamp of Zahid's signature that was meant for Yayasan Akalbudi's cheques, to pay for his personal credit card bills.

Kamal said that other than Zahid's advice to Mazlina to be more careful, her services were not terminated.

He said Zahid instead appointed the law firm Lewis & Co to manage Yayasan Akalbudi's funds.

Kamal further claimed that Zahid had not been aware that the foundation's money was used to pay for his credit card bills.

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

Among the CBT charges is that he allegedly settled his credit card debts using Yayasan Akalbudi through 44 cheques amounting to some RM1.3 million between January 2013 and December 2016.

Last year, Zahid pinned the blame on Mazlina, saying he had no knowledge that the foundation's cheques were used to pay for his credit card bills and accusing her of being negligent.

Among others, Zahid said Mazlina had made either insufficient or excessive payments for his credit card bills.

"The mistakes that Mazlina made included making credit card payments amounting to RM71,283 instead of RM65,153.32. Besides that, she (Mazlina) also underpaid the credit card bill, paying only RM2,600 when she should have paid RM64,668.24," he said.

Zahid said he could not understand why Mazlina made such payments.

"This is what I do not understand: why pay more and sometimes pay less? It means she was negligent... I have to pay for other people's negligence. Where is the justice?" said Zahid.

In 2021, the prosecution told the High Court that some RM17.9 million from Yayasan Akalbudi was withdrawn by Zahid, adding that the funds, among others, facilitated his daughter's bid to buy a boutique hotel in Bali, Indonesia.

The prosecution also challenged Zahid's claim that Mazlina had full control of the cheque books and said he had consciously opted to utilise Yayasan Akalbudi funds to pay off his personal credit card payments, motor insurance policies, and road tax and not use his own personal bank account.

"Major Mazlina Mazlan, in her statement, said the cheques were prepared upon the instruction and with the knowledge of the accused," deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran said during the trial in October 2021.

Meanwhile, Kamal said today that Zahid had also contributed his own money to the foundation.

He, however, said he had no details on this.