RM13 million contribution for building mosque, tahfiz school, not bribe for MyEG project - Zahid
KUALA LUMPUR - Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the High Court today that a RM13 million contribution given by a businessman to Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) was not a bribe but was for building a mosque and tahfiz school in Bagan Datuk, Perak.
Ahmad Zahid, 69, said he had never promised any MyEG projects to the businessman, textile wholesaler Junaith Asharab Md Shariff, as an inducement for the contribution because MyEG did not come under the Home Ministry but was under the Finance Ministry.
The former deputy prime minister said the contribution, made in 23 cheques from Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, was deposited into the client account of Lewis & Co, a fact which was confirmed by Junaith Asharab when he testified as the 36th prosecution witness.
"The prosecution never submitted any evidence in court to show there was any proposal or proof suggesting I promised these projects to Junaith Asharab.
"In fact, Junaith Asharab’s testimony itself clearly showed that these cheques were his contribution for the construction of a mosque and tahfiz school in Bagan Datuk," he added.
He said this when reading out his witness statement when making his defence against 47 charges - 12 on criminal breach of trust, eight on corruption and 27 on money laundering - involving millions of ringgit of YAB funds.
The Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament said Junaith Asharab had earlier testified in court, saying, "I am from well-known family. My in-law family is wealthy (sic) rich.”
"I also learnt that Junaith Asharab is an Indian Muslim from a very rich family and his financial means exceed those of ordinary people. I was also given to understand that he had a facility in ringgit to be donated to any party he desired.
"I was also told that Junaith Asharab also contributed to the construction of a mosque in India where the writings of 30 juzuk (parts) of the Quran in the mosque were made of gold and the word 'Bismillah' at the start of each surah (chapter) was made of diamond," he said.
Apart from this, Ahmad Zahid also denied receiving a RM250,000 bribe from Junaith Asharab, saying the money was a loan given to his younger brother Datuk Seri Nasaee.
"Based on the testimony of Junaith Asharab during the prosecution stage in court, the cheque was a loan given to my younger brother (Nasaee). I had nothing to do with the cheque, and I had no knowledge that this cheque was a loan to my brother.
"I had no personal knowledge of this loan and had nothing to do with this cheque. I also did not know that this cheque was a loan to my younger brother,” said Ahmad Zahid, who first knew Junaith Asharab in 2016 through Nasaee.
On the corruption charges, Ahmad Zahid is charged with eight counts of receiving bribes from three companies, namely Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, Data Sonic Group Berhad and Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd, as an inducement for him as then Home Minister to help these companies obtain MyEG projects, supply passport chips and be appointed to handle the one-stop migrant visa centre, in Pakistan and Nepal respectively.
He is alleged to have committed the offences at the Maybank Dataran Maybank branch in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar here between July 15, 2016 and March 15, 2018 and was charged under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.
The hearing before Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow. - BERNAMA