Zahid claims that Mazlina had made countless mistakes in handling his cheques and also failed to provide him with the foundation’s monthly bank statement.
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi transferred a total of RM17.9 million that belonged to Yayasan Akalbudi to a law firm as his former aide, Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly, was not well versed in accounting work, the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard today.
The former deputy prime minister also dismissed the prosecution’s argument that he committed criminal breach of trust when the money was transferred to Messrs Lewis & Co in 2016.
Zahid, who was giving evidence as the defence’s first witness, said Mazlina had made countless mistakes in handling his cheques and also failed to provide him with the foundation’s monthly bank statement.
“She only apologised for the slip-ups despite me reprimanding and guiding her in her work.
“She repeated her mistakes and I had no choice but to ensure that the money kept in a bank was transferred to a legal firm,” said Zahid when examined by his counsel, Ahmad Zahidi Zainal.
The transfer of the money is one of 12 charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) faced by the Umno president.
Zahid said he wanted the money to be handled by a legal firm that had a qualified accountant and other expertise in handling clients’ accounts.
He said a lawyer friend, Sashi Menon, introduced the legal firm to him.
On March 9 last year, the prosecution revealed that RM17.9 million from Yayasan Akalbudi was taken out by Zahid without the approval of the charity foundation’s board of trustees.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigating officer Fazli Zulkifli had said the money was used for the purchase of shares in a company for Zahid’s daughter, Nurulhidayah, as well as placed as fixed deposits.
Fazli said the money was transferred into the client’s account of Lewis & Co. He said Zahid, who is also the founder of Yayasan Akalbudi, had instructed the legal firm to manage the monies.
Today, Zahid said he wanted to stress that the RM17,953,185.21 credited into the legal firm’s client’s account still belonged to Yayasan Akalbudi and not to Yayasan Al Falah, or Lewis & Co, or anyone else.
Zahid continued to put the blame on Mazlina, insisting that he did not know and had never ordered her to use Yayasan Akalbudi’s cheques bearing his signature to pay for his personal vehicle insurance policies and road tax.
He also claimed that he had never allowed Mazlina to use a stamp of his signature — which he previously claimed to be for Hari Raya cards — or Yayasan Akalbudi cheques which he had pre-signed allegedly for urgent payments to be made for the foundation’s construction projects when he is overseas, for his own personal use.
Zahid, 69, faces 47 charges, including 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of Yayasan Akalbudi funds.
The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.