Where is justice if I must pay for other people’s negligence, Zahid asks court

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KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says Major Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly had committed negligence in handling his personal expenses as well as finances involving charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB).

Ahmad Zahid, 69, said among the lapses committed by his former executive secretary was failing to understand and read his credit card statements, causing her to make either insufficient or excessive payments.

“The mistakes Mazlina made included making credit card payments amounting to RM71,283 instead of RM65,153.32.

“Besides that, she (Mazlina) also underpaid the credit card bill, paying only RM2,600 when she should have paid RM64,668.24,” he said when reading out his witness statement in the High Court here on Monday (May 23).

It was the third day of his defence proceedings on 47 charges involving breach of trust, corruption and money laundering involving YAB funds.

He said Mazlina had testified in court that she did not know, was unsure and could not remember matters regarding the management of his credit card bills, apart from admitting to being negligent in handling the expenses.

“As a trained and experienced banker, I state that if I knew Mazlina was behaving in this way, I would not have given her permission and stopped her actions immediately,” he said.

To a question by his lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal on what could have caused Mazlina to make the extra payment, Ahmad Zahid said: “This is what I do not understand, why pay more and sometimes pay less, it means she was negligent… I have to pay for other people’s negligence. Where is the justice?”

According to him, Mazlina had never shown him the monthly credit card statements although he asked her to do so.

“She (Mazlina) said she would give me the statements… I waited but she didn’t come and (she) pretended to forget about it… Every time I asked about this, she would give me so many excuses.

“I am a very busy person… I prioritised my duties to the ministry and country, that is why I could not detect any negligence by Mazlina in managing my personal finances and YAB’s,” he said.

Besides that, Ahmad Zahid said Mazlina had used YAB cheques to pay his credit card bills without his instruction, knowledge or agreement.

“Mazlina had used my signature stamp on the YAB cheques that were used to pay for personal credit card bills as well as my wife’s (Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis) without my knowledge … The stamp should have been used on certificates of appreciation and festive greeting cards.

“I have never ordered Mazlina to use the YAB cheques that I pre-signed for purposes other than charity and I have never allowed her to use signature stamps or pre-signed cheques for credit card payments or to pay for my vehicle insurance,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid also denied any knowledge of the existence of such cheques used by Mazlina from 2013 until 2016, adding that if he had known about it, he would have immediately fired her for misusing the foundation’s cheques.

“Due to these failures that Mazlina committed, I had to appoint Messrs Lewis & Co as trustee of YAB funds,” he said.

When asked by Ahmad Zaidi why he did not take any action against Mazlina even though she had committed several offences, Ahmad Zahidi said: “I am a professional… I treat the officers serving under the agencies and departments that I lead professionally.

“I have never demoted any officer, instead, I give advice and guidance as well as promote them so that the officer is no longer working in the office or ministry that I lead.

“As a professional, I feel that I should advise and guide (those who have made mistakes). I would change tactics where I would advise them because they are an asset to the department, agency or ministry that I lead, that way I don’t oppress and ill-treat or belittle them or destroy their careers,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid is on trial over 47 criminal breach of trust (CBT), corruption and money laundering charges involving YAB funds.

On Jan 24, the court ordered Ahmad Zahid to enter his defence against all charges after finding that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against him.

The trial before High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Tuesday (May 24). – Bernama

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