The High Court also heard today that an UMNO rep’s SD saying that Zahid returned foundation’s money was false.
A witness told former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption and criminal breach of trust trial that the company he was previously attached to had received RM360,000 from Yayasan Akalbudi.
Yayasan Akalbudi is a charitable foundation set up by Zahid.
Jasni Majid said his previous company, TS Consultancy & Resources, had received two cheques from the foundation for RM360,000 on Aug 20, 2015 and Dec 23, 2016 for having conducted the registration of voters for a special unit under the deputy prime minister’s office.
He said both cheques were issued from Yayasan Akalbudi’s Affin Bank account and that he and another staff had deposited the cheques into their company’s CIMB account.
“The company was formed to help out with voter registration on the ground, with the cooperation of Umno,” he told the High Court today.
Jasni said the company had sought funds from Zahid as it did not have enough money to run its activities and daily operations.
To a question from deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi as to why the company had to get funds from a third party, Jasni said the company did not have any income.
“TS Consultancy was under the special unit of the DPM’s office and we took instructions from there,” he said.
Asked by Zahid’s lawyer, Hamidi Mohd Noh, whether he knew that TS Consultancy was meant to print Quran books and that the RM360,000 was paid for this purpose, Jasni said he was not aware of it.
Another witness, Sabri Said, said he was told to set up a company for voter registration purposes by former Election Commission (EC) chief Wan Ahmad Wan Omar and that he had asked Jasni to come on board to assist the company in administration and finance matters.
“The voter registration exercise was focused on certain areas where Barisan Nasional had won with slim majorities in the previous general election,” he said, adding that they had focused on Malay voters.
Meanwhile, an UMNO rep told the High Court today that his SD saying Zahid returned Akalbudi money was false.
Hutan Melintang assemblyman and the prosecution’s 15th witness, Datuk Khairuddin Tarmizi, 55, said he was requested to sign a statutory declaration by a lawyer named Murali (Muralidharan), when he met the latter at a restaurant in Bangsar on April 20, 2017.
Khairuddin, who was appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees of the foundation in 2012, said he signed the document voluntarily after Murali had explained that its contents were about the payment of Ahmad Zahid’s credit card bills with funds from the foundation, and that such funds had been returned to the foundation.
Reading from the declaration written in English about bills which he had received from Ahmad Zahid for settlement with the bank at around 2014 or 2015, Khairuddin said:
“I, without any other intention, was of the view that I could use the monies in the foundation to settle the bills of Datuk Seri since a major portion of the funds of the foundation was personally contributed by Datuk Seri.
“I have now realised my view was incorrect and I have requested Datuk Seri to refund the monies (totalling RM805,768.16) used to settle the bills, which monies Datuk Seri has since paid back to the foundation”.
Khairuddin, who is also the deputy chief of Umno’s Bagan Datuk branch, said this on the 10th day of trial in the case against Ahmad Zahid, 66, who faces 47 charges comprising criminal breach of trust, bribery and money laundering involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds totalling millions of ringgit.
However, when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, the witness said he did not receive the bills from Ahmad Zahid, as stated in the declaration.
Raja Rozela: Based on the statutory declaration, did YB (Yang Berhormat) use any cheques or funds from the foundation to pay the credit card bills for Datuk Seri (Ahmad Zahid)?
Khairuddin: Did not.
Raja Rozela: Based on the statutory declaration, did YB ever help Datuk Seri to return the money to the foundation?
Raja Rozela: Based on YB’s responses concerning three paragraphs in this statutory declaration, are the contents of this statutory declaration true?
Khairuddin: Not true.
When cross-examined by defence counsel Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, the witness acknowledged that he did not seek a second opinion from another lawyer before signing the statutory declaration.
In the 2017 SD, Khairuddin appeared to have taken the fall for Zahid by claiming that it was he who had decided to use the foundation’s funds to pay off Zahid’s credit cards based on the belief that most of the foundation’s funds were donated by Zahid anyway.
Khairuddin claimed in the false SD that he later realised his mistake and asked Zahid to repay the funds, which he supposedly did. However, it was revealed in court today that none of these events took place.
He added that he knew Muralidharan as someone who had shown up at events in Zahid’s parliamentary constituency of Bagan Datoh.
Earlier, Rozela told the court that she wanted to invoke Section 132 of the Evidence Act to compel Khairuddin to answer questions that could incriminate him.
However, the same provision protects Khairuddin from his incriminating answers from being used against him for prosecution.
High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, in accordance with a requirement under Section 132 to inform the witness of this, told Khairuddin that his answers could not be used against him unless he lied to the court.
Zahid’s defence counsel Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, who later cross-examined Khairuddin, suggested that the three paragraphs said to be false were not reasonable to begin with as Khairuddin was never a legal signatory for Yayasan Akalbudi.
Khairuddin agreed with the suggestion, stating: “Throughout my time as a member of the board of trustees, I had never signed any cheques belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi,” he said.
Zahid faces 47 charges over alleged CBT involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds, money laundering as well as accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as home minister.
The hearing before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.
Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Four
Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Three
Nov 19, Zahid’s Trial: Day Two