KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 -- The prosecution in the trial of Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is facing 47 criminal charges will prove that the former deputy prime minister had misappropriated RM31 million of Yayasan Akalbudi funds where not a single cent of the monies was used for the benefit of the poor.
In an opening statement, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said the prosecution would also establish that the accused had received bribery of RM17 million and further RM4.25 million of gratification and had also received proceeds from the unlawful activity of RM65 million.
Raja Rozela said the RM31 million monies were entrusted on the accused in his capacity as a member of the Yayasan’s Board of Trustees.
She said the prosecution would open its case with the criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges to prove that the accused had misappropriated approximately RM31 million worth of funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi, a duly incorporated charitable organisation which was established to help the poor and needy.
“Money trail to be presented in court will reveal that not a single cent of the RM31 million was used for the benefit of the poor.
“Instead, the money trail will show that a substantial amount had been used, among others, to pay for personal credit card bills, and to make purchases for motor vehicle insurance policies and road taxes for private-owned vehicles,” she said on the first day of Ahmad Zahid’s trial before High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah today.
Raja Rozela told the court that at least 20 witnesses would be called to prove the CBT charges supported by documentary evidence and the prosecution would also be relying on the presumption under Section 409B Penal Code.
For corruption charges, Raja Rozela said between 2016 and 2018, the accused was an officer of a public body holding the post of a minister at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“During his tenure, the accused had allegedly received RM17 million as a reward for the award of three distinct contracts to several companies. These contracts were entered into the Ministry of Home Affairs at the material date. The prosecution will lead evidence that the accused were instrumental in the award of the three contracts.
“On or about the same time, the accused was cashing in on his position as a minister when he allegedly received a further RM4.25 million from a person,” she said.
The DPP said the payments were corruptly received as an inducement for the accused to help secure MyEG projects under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
For these charges, the prosecution will be calling around 15 witnesses, and will be relying on the statutory presumption under Section 50(1) the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act (MACC) 2009, said the DPP.
She further said the money-laundering charges would be proven by showing that the accused had received approximately RM65 million worth of cheques from individuals know and unknown to him.
“The evidence that follows will show that these cheques were delivered or caused to be delivered to a lawyer, a Mr Muralidharan of Messrs Lewis & Co, who in turn, would deposit the cheques into the firm’s Clients Account.
“A substantial portion of the monies were subsequently used to make placements for fixed deposit under the firm's name. Two bungalow units worth RM5.9 million were also purchased with the monies received,” she said.
The DPP stressed that every dealing was within the accused knowledge.
She said witness testimonies and documentary evidence would be adduced to show proof that the accused knows or has reason to believe that the millions of ringgit he had received were proceeds from the unlawful activity.
“In proving each charge, the prosecution will be relying on direct, circumstantial and documentary pieces of evidence. Based on the evidence to be presented, we will ask the court to find for the prosecution a prima facie case proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We are obliged,” she said.
The trial will resume at 2.30 pm with the prosecution calling its first witness. Four witnesses are expected to testify today.
Raja Rozela was assisted by DPPs Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi, Gan Peng Kun, Lee Keng Fatt, Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong, Nur Aishah Maulat Ahmad Zakiuddin and Mohd Afif Ali, while lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik led the defence team.
The other lawyers in the team are Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, Hamidi Md Noh, Datuk Rosal Azimin and Haziq Dhiyauddin Razali
On Oct 19 and Dec 14, 2018, as well as Feb 20 this year, Ahmad Zahid had pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court here to a total of 47 charges, 12 of which are for CBT, eight for bribery and 27 for money laundering involving of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.