Three cheques totalling RM2 million given by a businessman and deposited into a law firm’s account was for Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and not intended for charitable organisation Yayasan Akalbudi, an investigator with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today told the court.
Fairul Rafiq Hamirudin, an investigating officer in Zahid’s ongoing corruption and criminal breach of trust case, said this while testifying as the 89th prosecution witness in the trial at the High Court.
Zahid’s lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal today quizzed the MACC investigator over three separate cheques that Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd managing director Azlan Shah Jaffril had personally delivered to Zahid in 2017 and 2018.
These three cheques are in the respective sums of RM300,000 (cheque dated July 31, 2017), RM1 million (cheque dated January 3, 2018), and RM700,000 (cheque dated February 9, 2018).
For these three cheques that were all deposited into law firm Lewis & Co’s account, the cheque butt (or the portion of the cheque book left behind after a cheque is torn out) for the RM300,000 cheque and RM700,000 cheque carried the word “charity”, while the RM1 million cheque’s cheque butt carried the words “Political fund to TPM”.
TPM is an initial in Malay typically used for deputy prime minister, a role which Zahid had held from July 2015 to May 2018.
When asked by Zaidi why the cheques given by Profound Radiance were deposited into Lewis & Co’s account, Fairul Rafiq said that Lewis & Co is a law firm but went on to say that “Lewis & Co is not appointed as Yayasan Akalbudi’s trustee”.
Zaidi also sought to suggest that the cheques were deposited into Lewis & Co’s account as the law firm was acting as charitable organisation Yayasan Akalbudi’s trustee, but Fairul Rafiq disagreed.
Earlier, Fairul Rafiq had remarked on his investigation findings to Zaidi: “The money was deposited into Lewis & Co’s account, but Lewis & Co don’t have written documents to say that Lewis & Co is Yayasan Akalbudi’s trustee.”
When Zaidi persisted in asking why the funds were put into Lewis & Co’s account, Fairul Rafiq said this was done for the purpose of keeping the funds on Zahid’s behalf.
Zaidi: That is your investigation, it was deposited into Lewis & Co for Datuk Seri Zahid, that is from your investigation?
Fairul Rafiq: Yes.
Fairul Rafiq also disagreed with Zaidi’s suggestion that the RM1 million cheque was intended as a political donation.
Azlan Shah — the 38th prosecution witness — had previously testified that he personally handed over the RM2 million cheques to Zahid as donations, but had also denied that the cheques were bribes in exchange for contracts to operate one-stop centres abroad for processing of applications for Malaysian visas.
In this trial, Zahid ― who is a former home minister and currently the Umno president ― is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money-laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.
Previously, trial dates had been fixed for Zahid’s case for tomorrow, October 26 to October 28 as well as November 16 to 19 and December 1 to 3.
In line with the two-week conditional movement control order (CMCO) however in the Klang Valley, the chief justice had earlier today instructed for all ongoing civil case hearings and criminal trials in the courts in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor to be suspended and postponed during the October 14 to October 27 period.
High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah today said the trial will resume on October 28, and November 16 to 19, while also adding on the new dates of November 20, November 23 to November 25, and December 4. – MMO
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