KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the High Court today that he did not demand a sum of RM2 million from a businessman who managed the One Stop Centre (OSC) work permits processing system for Pakistani and Nepali workers.
In his defence, Zahid insisted that the money from Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd director Azlan Shah Jaffril was a political donation, and not a bribe.
“Azlan recorded the RM2 million as ‘political donation’ and ‘charity’ on the cheque. Based on his testimony, it was made because the (2018) general election was around the corner,” Zahid said.
He also told the court that he was not involved in the appointment of Azlan’s company to handle the OSC system.
“It was done by the former prime minister Najib Razak. Profound Radiance wrote to him (Najib) previously requesting to be the operator.
“He also penned down written notes to me informing me that he agreed with Profound Radiance’s appointment. In my view, the written notes were a ‘directive’,” Zahid said, adding that the home ministry’s officers subsequently executed the prime minister’s order to award the OSC contract to Azlan’s company.
Zahid is standing trial on 47 charges of money laundering and CBT involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi and accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as the home minister.
Twelve of the charges are for CBT, eight for corruption and the remaining 27 for money laundering.
For the charges related to the OSC system, it is alleged that he received RM2 million from Azlan between Aug 3, 2017 and March 15, 2018.
On the money laundering charges, Zahid told the court that he never instructed lawyer Muralidharan Balan Pillai to get Yayasan Akalbudi’s trustee Khairuddin Tarmizi to affirm an affidavit, saying that the foundation’s money – used to settle his credit card payments – had been returned.
Khairuddin previously testified that the affidavit’s contents were not true.
The hearing continues on June 27 before trial judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.