Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the High Court on Thursday (May 26) that he was shocked when a partner at Messrs Lewis & Co made a serious mistake by stating that the legal firm was the trustee of Yayasan Al-Falah.
Ahmad Zahid, 69, said the matter was stated by lawyer B. Muralidharan who was the 87th prosecution witness while testifying in court.
“I state that Mr Muralidharan’s statement is not true at all. To the best of my knowledge, I assert that the funds held by Lewis & Co belong to Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB),” he said when reading out his witness statement while testifying in his own defence at his trial over 47 charges with 12 of them involving breach of trust, eight charges of corruption and 27 charges of money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds belonging to YAB.
Yayasan Al-Falah belongs to Ahmad Zahid’s family and the foundation board of trustees’ chairman is his brother Datuk Seri Mohamad Nasaee.
Ahmad Zahid said following Muralidharan’s testimony, he consulted with his lawyers and was advised to lodge a police report.
When asked by his lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, why the police report was lodged after the witness testified in court, Ahmad Zahid said he was only made aware of the matter while in court.
“I discussed with the lawyers to find the best way… the truth must be upheld, then a police report was made as evidence that it (the testimony) was misconstrued and to correct the misperceptions made by the witness,” he said, adding that he met Muralidharan, who is also the trustee of the foundation, at a wedding in Kuala Lumpur 30 years ago.
The Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament said lawyer Faisalludin Mohamat Yusoff, who was the 66th prosecution witness also told the court on June 17, 2020, that the funds handled by Lewis & Co did not belong to Yayasan Al-Falah.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid vehemently denied the prosecution’s allegation that the cheques deposited into Lewis & Co’s account were proceeds from illegal activities, instead, he said the cheques given to YAB were political contributions for charity work.
“The allegation is incorrect and unfounded. I state that during the prosecution stage, prosecution witnesses were called to the court to testify and all these witnesses were donors to YAB who had given direct oral evidence and through recordings of their conversations, they told the court that they had made donations for charity work,” he said.
Previously, Ahmad Zahid told the court that he had instructed Affin Bank to transfer YAB funds amounting to RM17,953,185.21 from the bank to the client account of Lewis & Co, and that money still belonged to YAB and did not belong to Yayasan Al Falah, the legal firm or other people.
Ahmad Zahid is facing 27 charges of money laundering by engaging in direct transactions involving income from illegal activities between March 29, 2016, and April 11, 2018, and all the offences were allegedly committed at the Maybank branch at Dataran Maybank on Jalan Maarof, Bangsar and Marhaba Enterprise Sdn. Bhd, Fahrenheit88, 179 Jalan Bukit Bintang, here on the same date.
Earlier, Ahmad Zahid said he had never asked for the three cheques amounting to RM2mil from the director of Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd, Azlan Shah Jaffril in three separate locations in Putrajaya.
He also said that he had never asked for any money from anyone from the visa processing company and the matter was confirmed by Azlan Shah, the prosecution’s 38th witness when he testified in court.
“I would also like to stress that I did not receive these funds corruptly as these funds were for charity and political donation as stated by Azlan Shah in court,” he said.
According to Ahmad Zahid, based on Azlan Shah’s testimony, the first cheque totalling RM300,000 was placed on the table in his office, and the second cheque amounting to RM1mil was handed over while he was walking towards his car after an event at the Home Ministry Office in Putrajaya on Jan 4, 2018, while a cheque for the sum of RM700,000 was handed over at Seri Satria.
The trial before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes on June 27. – Bernama