Zahid’s Trial: Legal Firm Not Trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi

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A partner of Messrs Lewis & Co told the High Court in Kuala Lumpur today that the legal firm was not a trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi, which is owned by former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Firdaus Latif

V Premshangar, 50, also said the firm had never handled files or ledgers relating to the foundation.

Premshangar was the 86th prosecution witness during the former deputy prime minister’s trial involving 47 charges relating to criminal breach of trust (CBT), bribery and money-laundering.

Under cross-examination by Zahid’s lawyer Hisham Teh Poh Teik, the witness said there were no files on Yayasan Akalbudi in the firm’s record nor did the firm ever represent the foundation.

“We were never a trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi.

Firdaus Latif

“I have checked, we only have files on Yayasan Al-Falah. There were no records on Yayasan Akalbudi and we had never acted for Yayasan Akalbudi,” he said.

Asked if he agreed the money reflected in all the cheques, banker’s cheques, ledgers and money belonged to Yayasan Akalbudi and not Yayasan Al-Falah, the witness said he could not answer as it was not him who handled the files.

Premshangar said he did handle civil litigation matters for Zahid, but stressed that Yayasan Al-Falah’s matters were handled by the firm’s co-partner Muralidharan Balan Pillai.

Hisyam: I put it to you that all the cheques and bankers’ cheques recorded in this file and ledger, the monies belong to Yayasan Akalbudi, and not Yayasan Al-Falah.

Premshangar: I can’t answer this question, I did not handle this matter.

Previously, Zahid’s legal team had repeatedly suggested to various prosecution witnesses that Lewis & Co is a trustee for Yayasan Akalbudi and that funds linked to the foundation were for charity purposes.

Lewis & Co’s accountant V Sothilechmy had, however, told the court previously that she had never heard of Yayasan Akalbudi and that Yayasan Akalbudi is not a client of the law firm.

Shafwan Zaidon

Hisham then contended that there was a discussion at Zahid’s residence in Country Heights in April 2016 in which the latter had informed the witness and his law firm partner B Muralidharan that a fixed deposit account was for Yayasan Akalbudi.

The witness who is a lawyer and solicitor replied that he disagreed with the contention saying that he was not involved in the discussion.

Yayasan Al-Falah’s trustee Faisalludin Mohamat Yusuff, the 66th prosecution witness, previously testified that the foundation’s chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Nasaee Ahmad Tarmizi is Zahid’s younger brother.

Faisalludin had also said he understood Yayasan Akalbudi to be a foundation specific to Zahid, while Yayasan Al-Falah is a foundation formed for both Zahid and Nasaee’s late biological father Hamidi@Ahmad Tarmidzi Radin Abdul Fateh’s children and family.

Premshangar also said he did not know how Lewis & Co was involved in managing monies from Zahid as it was all managed by Muralidharan.

“I confirm that I have no personal knowledge on the management of monies and the Yayasan Al-Falah file at Lewis & Co as it was not managed by me,” he said adding that he did not receive any direct instructions from Zahid in regards with cheques deposits and withdrawals into the firm’s account.

Earlier today, Hisyam informed the High Court that Zahid’s legal team will be recalling the fourth, seventh, eighth, 15th, 18th and 66th prosecution witnesses following amendments to some of Zahid’s charges yesterday.

MIera Zulyana

Hisyam also said this is not an exhaustive list and that the defence reserves the right to recall other witnesses.

In this trial, Zahid ― who is a former deputy prime minister and currently the Umno president ― is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money-laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.

Trial resumes tomorrow before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah and Muralidharan will be taking the stand.

Earlier reports:

Aug 10, Zahid Pleads Not Guilty to Amended Charges in Graft Trial

Jul 30, Zahid’s Trial: Law Firm Placed RM66.6M in Fixed Deposits, Yayasan Akalbudi Not a Client

Jul 29, Zahid’s Trial: Moneychanger Omar Ali Insists Zahid Ordered Millions in Cash Converted into Cheques

Jul 28, Zahid’s Trial: Zahid’s Daughter Said Father Had Funds for Her Takeover of Company’s Share

Jul 27, Zahid’s Trial: Businessman Donated RM6.6M to Yayasan Akalbudi to Secure Project

Jul 14, Zahid’s Trial: MyEG Director Gave RM9M to Zahid’s Foundation

Jul 3, Zahid’s Trial: More than RM1 Million in Cheques Issued to Yayasan Akalbudi Trustee

Jun 18, Zahid’s Trial: Contractor Says Zahid Paid Him RM1.4M Cash, No Records

Jun 17, Zahid’s Trial: After RM1.3M Blank Cheque Revelations, Witnesses Put Blame on Omar Ali

Jun 17, Zahid’s Trial: Wife Signed Blank Cheque Book for Moneychanger Husband’s Use

Jun 17, Zahid’s Trial: Contractor Tells Court of Dealings with Zahid’s Proxy

Jun 17, Zahid’s Trial: Brother Cited Zahid as Having Paid RM5.9M for Country Heights Bungalows

Jun 16, Zahid’s Trial Brother Bought 2 Properties Worth RM5.9M Using Foundation Money

Jun 15, Zahid’s Trial: RM25M Banked into Proxy’s Account

Mar 6, Zahid’s Trial: Cheques Issued Meant for Moneychanger Ended up in Proxy Account

Mar 3, Zahid’s Trial: RM99M Worth of Cheques Went into Foundation’s Trustee Account

Feb 20, Zahid’s Trial: Businessman Insists RM2 Million Donations to Zahid, Not Bribery for Contracts

Feb 19, Zahid’s Trial: Alleged RM6M Political Donation

Feb 15, Zahid’s Trial: Zahid Directed That Datasonics Passport Chips to Be Used

Feb 13, Zahid’s Trial: Under-Performing Firm Allowed to Resupply Passport Chips

Feb 12, Zahid’s Trial: Foundation Never Audited Its Accounts or Filed Financial Reports with SSM

Feb 11, Zahid’s Trial: Former DPM Signed 51 Foundation Cheques Worth RM31M

Dec 13, Zahid’s Trial: Earned RM44,383 a Month as DPM

Dec 12, Zahid’s Trial: RM360K All Went Towards Voter Registration, Not to Print Quran

Dec 10, Zahid’s Trial: Firm Received RM360K from Zahid’s Charity Body for Voter Registration

Dec 10, Zahid’s Trial: Insurance, Road Tax for His 20 Vehicles Paid with Foundation Funds

Dec 5, Zahid’s Trial: 39 Insurance Policies Totalling RM72K for 20 Vehicles

Dec 3, Zahid’s Trial: Couple Owns 18 Luxury Vehicles

Dec 2, Zahid’s Trial: Wife’s Credit Cards Used for LV, Harrods, Armani, RM250K Spending Limit

Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Four

Nov 21, Zahid’s Trial: Day Three

Nov 20, Schoomate: I Signed Blank Cheques on Zahid’s Order, 

Nov 19, Zahid’s Trial: Day Two

Nov 18, Zahid Embezzled RM31M Meant for the Poor