A witness told the Kuala Lumpur High Court his construction company had issued three cheques totalling RM1,011,520 under the name of Messrs Lewis & Co, a trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi belonging to Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Cergas Murni Sdn Bhd director Paul Latimer, 78, said part of the amount was “protection money” for gangsters while the remaining was meant for his company’s operational matters, which included payment to subcontractors and suppliers during the construction of the third bridge in Klang from 2014 to 2017.
He said this during cross-examination by counsel Rosal Azimin Ahmad on the 24th day of Zahid’s trial. Zahid is facing 47 criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering charges involving funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
However, Latimer said “I cannot recall” in his reply to a suggestion by Rozal his company had issues with machinery in 2016.
Rosal: All these cheques have nothing to do with Zahid, because you had no dealings with him?
Rosal: Your company was awarded the bridge project in Klang not because of Omar Ali (a money changer)?
During examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Jeffry Ong, the 73rd prosecution witness said the three cheques, totalling RM447,773.42, RM259,047.05 and 304,699.54 respectively, dated March 29 and April 6, 2016, were handed to Omar.
Another witness, HRA Teguh Sdn Bhd managing director Hashim Osman said his company received a total of RM217,000 in March 2016 from Omar.
Describing the money as a “friendly loan”, the 69-year-old witness said his company was facing financial difficulties to complete the highway project from Machang to Kuala Krai, in Kelantan.
“My company was handling a project and at times the payments from the client came in late. But as the project was already in progress, we need cash to keep it going,” said the 72nd prosecution witness.
Asked by Ong whether he took the initiative to find out how Omar acquired the money, Hashim said he did not.
“To me, we have to pay what we borrowed. I have no time to check (the source of the money). My concern was to ensure the project is completed,” he said.
In the 27th charge, Zahid is accused of having committed money-laundering by instructing Omar to convert for him a cash amount of RM6,885,300.20, which is income from illegal activities, into 30 cheques given to Messrs Lewis & Co for the opening of Maybank fixed deposit accounts.
The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on July 14.
Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Four
Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Three
Nov 19, Zahid’s Trial: Day Two