The Kuala Lumpur High Court was told today that the withdrawal of RM17.9 million from Yayasan Akalbudi funds was a criminal breach of trust because it did not get the consent of the charity foundation’s board of trustees.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Muhammad Fazli Zulkifli, 36, said the withdrawal of the money from Yayasan Akalbudi’s Affin Bank account to be transferred to a Maybank account belonging to Messrs Lewis & Co, the foundation’s trustee, was instructed by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The 93rd prosecution witness said this during re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Sazilee Abdul Khairi, on the 48th day of the trial of the former deputy prime minister, who is facing corruption, abuse of power and money laundering charges involving millions of ringgit in funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.
Last Friday, Fazli told the court that Zahid was involved in the withdrawal of RM17.9 million from Yayasan Akalbudi funds for the purchase of shares as well as to be placed as fixed deposits.
Of the amount, he said RM8.6 million was paid to Ri-Yaz Assets Sdn Bhd as deposit for a share purchase with another RM9.3 million to be placed as fixed deposits.
Sazilee: Based on your investigation on Messrs Lewis & Co, the holder of RM17.9 million, who gave instructions with regards to the money to the firm.
Fazli: All instructions received by Lewis & Co were from Zahid and Lewis & Co will not act without instructions.
The witness also confirmed that no other members of Yayasan Akalbudi’s board of trustees had given instructions to Lewis & Co, specifically its partner B Muralidhahran.
On Zahid’s cautioned statement to the MACC during the investigation into the case involving the investment in Ri-Yaz Assets, Fazli said it contradicted the testimony of other witnesses.
“Based on Zahid’s statement, he said Yayasan Akalbudi was interested in investing (in Ri-Yaz Assets) in the hotel sector, but the testimony from other witnesses said that NurulHidayah (Zahid’s daughter) was interested to make an investment and payment was made by Yayasan Akalbudi,” said Fazli.
Sazilee: What about the testimony of Rashid Manaf (shareholder of Ri-Yaz Assets).
Fazli: According to Rashid, Nurulhidayah expressed interest in investing in Ri-Yaz Assets.
Asked whether there were any documents on the investment, Fazli replied, “No, it involved only two parties, Nurulhidayah and Rashid. During the investigation I also did not find any document saying that Nurulhidayah was an observer or proxy in Ri- Yaz Assets.”
Meanwhile, MACC investigating officer Mohd Tharuzi Mohd Nor, 40, said he found it strange that Yayasan Al-Falah was only managed by three people.
Tharuzi said there were only three members on the board of trustees and no other names listed under the foundation.
The three who were the members of the board were Zahid’s brother Datuk Seri Mohamad Nasaee Ahmad Tarmizi, lawyer Faisalludin Mohamat Yusuff and Mohd Farid Abdullah.
“Managing a foundation with only three people is rather weird. Besides, the three, there were no other members (in the foundation),” Tharuzi said during re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi.
The 94th prosecution witness said this when he was asked about his investigations into the purchase of two bungalow lots at Country Heights, Kajang, which were paid for via a cheque from Messrs Lewis & Co.
Tharuzi also testified that there were no documents in relation to the purchase of the bungalow lots or that the units were being paid for using funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.
He said there were also no documents or transactions of any donations made to Yayasan Al-Falah from Yayasan Akalbudi on the purchase of the bungalows, which he found strange.
Asked about the distance between the bungalow lots and where Zahid and Nasaee reside, the witness said the premises were near the siblings’ houses.
Tharuzi also revealed that RM5.9 million was paid by Yayasan Al-Falah to Bee Garden Holdings Sdn Bhd, the property owner via a cheque from Lewis & Co upon Zahid’s instructions.
He said based on his investigations, the transfer of ownership of both properties to Yayasan Al-Falah was successful.
Meanwhile, another MACC investigating officer Mohd Fahmee Mohamad Nor, 39, testified that there were 35 cheques from five banks under the name Lewis & Co that were suspected to be part of money laundering activities.
He said Zahid had ordered a money changing company to convert cash from unknown individuals and companies into cheques to conceal the transactions of the monies.
The 95th prosecution witness said Zahid had ordered Marhaba Enterprise Sdn Bhd owner Omar Ali Abdullah to convert money the latter received from unknown parties into cheques under the name of Lewis & Co.
He added that based on investigations, Omar Ali did not record any transactions on the money exchange.
He said Omar Ali had also not reported the money exchange to Bank Negara Malaysia.
Zahid, 68, faces 47 charges, 12 of them for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.
The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.
Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Four
Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Three
Nov 19, Zahid’s Trial: Day Two