Zahid has case to answer
KUALA LUMPUR - Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, must now defend himself on charges that he committed criminal breach of trust (CBT), corruption and money laundering involving tens of millions of funds from his charity foundation Yayasan Akalbudi.
Delivering his decision today, High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah ordered for the former deputy prime minister to enter his defence after finding that the prosecution had established a prima facie case on all the 47 charges faced by the accused.
“After conducting maximum evaluation, I find that the prosecution has proven all the ingredients of all the charges and successfully made out a prima facie case.
“I therefore call upon the accused to enter his defence, (on all charges),” Sequerah said.
The judge had also in his decision said Zahid is not entitled to enjoy ‘immunity’ from prosecution under Section 30(7) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2001 for truthfully disclosing the transactions related to the foundation.
The provision states that anyone who discloses information or produces any document to the MACC would not be prosecuted.
“With respect to the immunity point, I have been considering the submissions of both parties.
“I find no merit to the contention that the accused is entitled to immunity in respect to the relevant charges,” he said.
Upon hearing the verdict, Zahid consulted with his lawyers and elected to give evidence under oath.
His lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik told the court that the defence would be calling more than 20 witnesses from the 37 offered to them by the prosecution.
He also told the court that the defence was unable to meet the deadline that the defence trial start on the originally fixed date on March 28, as they needed more time to prepare since his client has been ordered to enter defence on all 47 charges.
“Can we suggest that the defence be given more time because we need to interview the witnesses, study their statements and prepare witness statements,” he said.
The court then fixed April 26 to 28, May 23 to 26, June 27 to 30, July 4 to 7, Aug 22 to 23, 29 and 30, Sept 19 to 22 and 26 to 29, Oct 17 to 20 and 31 and Nov 1 to 3 and 7 to 10 for trial at the defence’s stage.
Zahid will be the first one to take the stand when the defence trial starts.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran led the prosecution team.
Previously, the court heard arguments at the end of the prosecution’s case which concluded on Dec 6, last year.
The submissions hearing lasted for a total of 24 days since Sept 6, the same year.
On March 19, last year, after calling a total of 99 witnesses, the prosecution rested its case.
Among the prosecution witnesses called to testify in the trial which started on Nov 18, 2019, were Zahid’s former special officer Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, law firm Lewis & Co partner B. Muralidharan, money changer Omar Ali Abdullah and Zahid’s former executive secretary Major Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly.
Zahid, 69, had pleaded not guilty to 12 criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges, eight counts of bribery and 27 counts of money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
For the CBT charges, Zahid was alleged to have used the funds to make six payments for his personal credit cards usage, insurance policy and licence for his personal vehicles, remittances to a law firm and contributions to the Royal Malaysia Police Football Association.
The offences were allegedly committed at the Affin Bank Bhd branch in Jalan Bunus off Jalan Masjid India, here, between Jan 13, 2014, and Dec 23, 2016.
The charges, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, carries a jail term of between two and 20 years, and with whipping, and fine, upon conviction.
Zahid was also charged with eight counts of bribery, where he was alleged to have accepted bribes from three companies, namely Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, Data Sonic Group Bhd and Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd as an inducement for him, in his capacity as the Home Minister then, to help the companies obtain MyEG projects, supply of passport chips and to be appointed as the operator of the migrant visa one-stop centres in Pakistan and Nepal, respectively.
He was charged with committing the offences, framed under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, at the Maybank branch at Dataran Maybank in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, here, between July 15, 2016, and March 15, 2018.
The Bagan Datuk MP also faced 27 charges of money-laundering by engaging in direct transactions involving income from illegal activities between March 29, 2016, and April 11, 2018.
The offences were allegedly committed at Malayan Banking Bhd, Dataran Maybank branch, Level 1, Tower A, No. 1 Jalan Maarof, Bangsar and Marhaba Enterprise Sdn Bhd, LG 1.15, Fahrenheit88, 179 Jalan Bukit Bintang, here, between March 29, 2016 and April 11, 2018.