A Kota Baru-Kuala Krai Expressway contractor received more than RM300,000 loan from money changer Omar Ali Abdullah, the ‘middleman’ who dished out payments from Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s proxy account, the High Court was told today.
HRA Teguh Sdn Bhd advisor Lee Fook Kheun, 69, said he received the money in stages from Omar Ali who issued it in various transactions through a company called ASP Piling.
However, Lee said Omar Ali told him to make a repayment to a law firm called Lewis & Co.
Lewis & Co has been identified as the trustee for Yayasan Akalbudi, from which Zahid is accused of having misappropriated funds.
Lee, who was the 65th prosecution witness in the former deputy prime minister’s corruption trial, said he decided to borrow money from Omar Ali as security to obtain funding for the highway project.
“Our company needed money to fund the project as we did not have enough funds to pay for sub-contractors and suppliers.
“Thus, I decided to borrow RM305,000 from Omar Ali on behalf of HRA Teguh four years ago.
“HRA Teguh received the funds in three transactions – RM40,000 in cash, RM45,000 via interbank transfer and RM132,000 from ASP Piling account,” he said in his witness statement.
He said RM88,000 from the loan was directly transferred into his personal bank account as HRA Teguh had owed him some money.
Lee said HRA Teguh paid their loan to Omar Ali by issuing banker’s cheque with a total of RM313,000 and named Lewis & Co as the recipient.
Questioned by deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong, Lee said he was instructed by Omar Ali to do so.
“I asked him why I need to repay the money to Lewis & Co and he (Omar Ali) said he needed to roll the money for other business,” he said.
He said the company also decided to add an additional RM8,000 in their repayment to Omar Ali as a service charge.
“That is why we transferred RM313,000 even though our initial loan was RM305,000,” he added.
Meanwhile, HRA Teguh accountant Lee Wea confirmed that the company had issued RM313,000 banker’s cheque for Lewis & Co as instructed by Lee on June 30, 2016.
“I asked Lee why we needed to transfer RM313,000 to Lewis & Co. But he just answered that it was for the repayment to Omar Ali,” she said.
Omar Ali’s name has cropped up several times during the trial as witnesses who testified said they all gave cheques with differing amounts, but without the recipient’s name, to Omar Ali, who would then fill up the details and hand the cheques over to Lewis & Co.
Omar Ali, in his 50s, was said to own a money changing outlet in Bukit Bintang.
He was also present during the proceedings today.
The trial continues before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
On Oct 19 and Dec 14, 2018, as well as Feb 20 this year, Zahid had pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court to a total of 47 charges, 12 of which are for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for bribery, and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi. – NST
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