Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had allegedly failed to channel even a single sen to the poor from the RM31 million in Yayasan Akalbudi funds, which was set up with the objective of helping the group and others in need.
Embezzled and laundered money used to:
- Pay personal credit card bills
- Buy motor insurance, road tax for privately owned vehicles
- Purchase two bungalows
The allegation was stated by DPP Raja Rozela Raja Toran in her opening statement at the criminal trial against Zahid, which commenced at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.
Zahid is facing a total of 47 charges, including 12 criminal breach of trust, eight counts of bribery, and 27 counts of money laundering involving Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds.
The trial is presided by Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah, and Zahid is represented by Hisham Teh Poh Teik.
Raja Rozela said he prosecution aimed to prove that Zahid had misappropriated about RM31 million from the funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi, which was an incorporated organisation set up to channel assistance to the poor and needy.
“The flow of cash will be laid in court to reveal that not a single sen from the RM31 million was used for the benefit of poor people,” she said.
“On the contrary, it would show that a large amount was used to, among others, settle personal credit card bills, purchase of vehicle insurance policies and pay road tax for personal vehicles.”
Raja Rozela told the court that the prosecution would then continue the trial with the bribery charges against Zahid, who was accused of receiving RM17 million when he was the Home Minister as gratification of awarding three contracts to several companies.
Zahid was also accused of receiving RM4.25 million from “someone” around the same time for awarding MyEG project to a company. MyEG was a project that fell under the ministry’s control.
On the money laundering charges, Zahid was accused of receiving cheques estimated to be worth RM65 million from several parties, which were deposited into his account through a lawyer (Muralidharan of Messrs Lewis & Co).
He had allegedly used the money to purchase two bungalows worth RM5.9 million.
“The testimony of witnesses and documentary evidence will show that the accused knew, or had reasons to know, that the millions of ringgit he received were proceeds from illegal activities,” Raja Rozela added.
Zahid was slapped with the charges on Oct 19 and Dec 14 last year, and Feb 20 this year.
All the charges were made under Section 409 of the Penal Code (for criminal breach of trust); Section 16(1)(a)(B) of the MACC Act 2019 (bribery); and Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amlatfapua).
The prosecution is planning to call 20 witnesses to testify against Zahid for the CBT charges, and another 15 witnesses for the bribery charges.
Before the commencement of the trial this morning, the judge delivered his decision dismissing Ahmad Zahid’s application to challenge the constitutionality of several charges against him under the MACC Act and Amlatfapua.
Hisham Teh had earlier submitted to the court that they are mounting the challenge as it involves admissibility of documents to be produced by the prosecution.
The judge ruled that he agreed with Raja Rozela’s submission that Ahmad Zahid’s application was premature as the trial had not started.
“This challenge, at the time being, is premature as it is presumptuous in nature towards admissibility of documents prepared by the prosecution,” said the judge.
However, he ordered that all documents being disputed in the trial to be marked for identification, and any challenge should be raised along the course of the trial.
“I will decide the admissibility of the documents during submission at the end of prosecution’s case,” said the judge.
The former deputy prime minister, who is Umno president, also faces another 40 charges of graft involving the Immigration Department Visa System that will be heard in Shah Alam at a later time.
Raja Rozela is assisted by DPPs Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi, Gan Peng Kun, Lee Keng Fatt, Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong, Nur Aishah Maulat Ahmad Zakiuddin and Mohd Afif Ali.
Hisyam Teh Poh Teik leads the defence team, comprising Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, Hamidi Md Noh, Datuk Rosal Azimin and Haziq Dhiyauddin Razali