Trial to continue next February.
Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s first ever corruption trial will resume on the next scheduled dates falling in February 2020, as the case had been heard on all scheduled dates this year.
Zahid’s trial in the Kuala Lumpur High Court involves 47 charges related to criminal breach of trust, accepting bribes and money-laundering.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran yesterday informed High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah that the prosecution will be producing a total of 70 prosecution witnesses for this trial.
The list of 70 witnesses include the 26 witnesses that have already testified so far.
Yesterday was the 12th day of the trial which had started on November 18.
The next scheduled dates for this trial are February 11 to 14, February 17 to 20, March 2, 3, 6, 23 to 25, April 13 to 16, April 27 to 30, May 12 to 15, June 15 to 18, June 22 to June 25.
Zahid is also facing 40 other bribery charges in a separate case, with the case yet to go on trial and fixed for case management on January 6.
Meanwhile, the High Court was told yesterday that Zahid earned a monthly salary and allowance totalling RM44,383.15 when holding that position from July 28, 2015, to May 9, 2018.
Zahid’s basic monthly salary was RM18,168.15, while his monthly allowance was RM26,215.
During Zahid’s tenure as Home Minister effective May 16, 2013, until July 27, 2015, he received a monthly salary of RM14,907.20 and a monthly allowance of RM24,320.
Earlier, the court heard from a businessman dealing in oil and gas ventures that the RM10 million that Zahid gave to Armada Holdings in 2015 was a loan as the funds had to be returned.
Businessman Datuk Wasi Khan @ Wasiyu Zama Israr said the RM10 million cheque was issued to him through Zahid’s Yayasan Akalbudi one month after he met Zahid for the first time at the home ministry office.
Wasi, however, acknowledged the possibility that the RM10 million could be a form of investment in his company.
“Kemungkinan besar (highly possible), because to me it’s too good to be true also for someone like me,” Wasi said while testifying as the 21st prosecution witness in Zahid’s corruption trial.
Zahid’s lawyer, Rosal Azimin Ahmad, also questioned Wasi on the purported RM10 million investment and asked the witness if he had ever signed an agreement with Zahid for this purpose.
“There was no ‘black and white’ (agreement),” he said.
Co-counsel Ahmad Zaidi Zainal then showed Wasi a copy of Yayasan Akalbudi’s constitution and pointed out that one of the provisions allowed the foundation to invest money if its trustees thought it was proper to do so.
The witness agreed with the defence counsel’s suggestion after reading the constitution.
Throughout the court hearing yesterday, Zahid’s lawyers had repeatedly suggested that Yayasan Akalbudi had given the RM10 million to Armada Holdings as an “investment” instead of as a loan, but Wasi had said he was uncertain and appeared to give inconsistent answers.
Wasi confirmed that he had asked his friend Datuk Seri Khalid Mohamad Jiwa, who is Siti Nurhaliza’s husband, to arrange a meeting with Zahid and that such a meeting happened about a week later.
During that first meeting with Zahid, Wasi said he had explained his difficulty in obtaining the RM10 million as the minimum requirement to bid for a tender to supply coal to a company linked to TNB. He had failed to get Zahid’s help to have the capital requirement reduced as the latter did not want to interfere in TNB affairs.
Asked by Raja Rozela to clarify, Wasi said he did not ask for “investment” during the meeting with Zahid.
Earlier when cross-examined by Rosal, Wasi agreed that it was possible that Khalid had prior to the first meeting met separately with Zahid, also agreeing that both Khalid and Zahid also met to discuss about the matter after the first meeting.
Rosal highlighted that Zahid did not know of Wasi before the first meeting and had no interests in Armada Holdings and that there was no written document over the RM10 million financial aid that was given a month later, with Wasi then agreeing that Zahid had handed over the RM10 million due to his trust towards Khalid and towards Wasi’s “business proposal”.
While agreeing that the RM10 million by Zahid or Yayasan Akalbudi was used by Armada Holdings to open a bank account for the first time, Wasi disagreed that Zahid had an interest via Yayasan Akalbudi in the proposed business bid.
Asked thrice by Rosal if the RM10 million was actually intended as an “investment”, Wasi disagreed twice and finally said it was not within his knowledge.
Wasi also confirmed that he had returned the RM10 million along with RM69,722.65 from the fixed deposit interest by the bank to Yayasan Akalbudi in February 2016, saying that he had given the interest payment on his own initiative without being required to do so by Zahid.
Quizzed by Rosal, Wasi agreed that the return of RM10 million along with the addition of over RM69,000 was a profit for Yayasan Akalbudi and that the foundation did not suffer losses from the transaction.
When cross-examined by Zaidi, Wasi agreed that the terms “loan” and “investment” were subjective in meaning, further agreeing that a loan could be considered as an investment.
Wasi agreed with Zaidi’s claim that Zahid had agreed in separate discussions with Khalid that Yayasan Akalbudi would invest in Armada Holdings’ planned coal business, but said he did not have knowledge of the alleged profit sharing ratio of 51 per cent to Armada Holdings and 49 per cent to Yayasan Akalbudi that Zahid and Khalid purportedly agreed to.
Hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Feb 11 next year.
Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Four
Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Three
Nov 19, Zahid’s Trial: Day Two