Zahid's trial over 47 charges involving foundation's funds to start Monday (Nov 18)

Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The trial of former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is facing 47 charges involving millions of ringgit of Yayasan Akalbudi funds will commence Monday (Nov 18) at the High Court here.

The trial of Ahmad Zahid, who is also Umno president, will be heard before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

The Judge will first hear Ahmad Zahid's application to challenge the constitutionality of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act (MACC) 2009 and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, where the charges are framed against him.

On March 22, Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran had informed the court that the prosecution would call 20 witnesses to testify.

On Oct 19 and Dec 14,2018, as well as Feb 20 this year, Ahmad Zahid had pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court here to a total of 47 charges, 12 of which are for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for bribery and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

For CBT charges, Ahmad Zahid had allegedly used the funds to make six payments for personal credit cards, insurance policy and licence for his personal vehicles, remittances to a law firm and contributions to the Royal Malaysia Police football association.

He is alleged to have committed the offences at Affin Bank Berhad branch in Jalan Bunus off Jalan Masjid India, here, between Jan 13,2014, and Dec 23,2016.

The charge, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, provides for a jail term of between two and 20 years, and with whipping, and fine, upon conviction.

Ahmad 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 then Home Minister, to help the companies to obtain MyEG projects, supply passport chips and to be appointed the operator of migrant visa one-stop centres in Pakistan and Nepal respectively.

He is accused of having committed all the offences at the Maybank branch at Dataran Maybank in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, between July 15,2016, and March 15,2018, under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 and is liable to be penalised under Section 24(1) of the same Act.

If convicted, he is liable to a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the bribe amount or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

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.

He was charged under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, for which the penalty upon conviction, provided under Section 4(1) of the same act, is a maximum 15-year jail term and a fine of up to five times of the income from the illegal activities or RM5mil, whichever is higher, if convicted.

Ahmad Zahid also facing 40 charges of having accepted bribes from a company over the overseas visa system, totalling to 87 the number of all the charges brought against him.

On June 26, he had pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here to seven counts of having accepted bribes totalling SG$4.24mil (RM12.94mil) from a company and on June 27, Ahmad Zahid was charged at Shah Alam Sessions Court with 33 counts of having accepted RM42.76mil from a company over the overseas visa system. – Bernama

Najib's third trial for allegedly tampering with 1MDB audit reports expected to begin tomorrow; see for more

Najib's third trial expected to begin tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The third criminal trial faced by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the High Court here is expected to commence on Monday (Nov 17).

Najib is facing a charge of tampering the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) final audit report together with 1MDB former chief executive officer (CEO) Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

The Pekan MP is currently preparing to enter his defence in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case, in which he was charged with seven charges of misappropriating RM42mil in SRC funds at another High Court. His defence will resume on Dec 3.

Najib, 66, is also being tried for four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3bil from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount in a different court. The trial is set to resume on Jan 6 next year.

Whether or not the third trial will proceed depends on the decision of Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan as he will first deliver his decision on Najib's application for the audit report tampering trial dates to be vacated and to be moved to Jan 13,2020.

Prior to this, Mohamed Zaini had directed all parties to be prepared with the trial if he disallowed the application. The judge had also fixed Nov 18 to 29 this year and Jan 13 to 17,2020 for the trial.

Ahmad Akram Gharib, one of deputy public prosecutors in the team, when contacted, said that the prosecution is ready with three to five formal witnesses if the judge decided to begin the trial on Monday.

Former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram is leading the prosecution team together with deputy public prosecutors Datuk Nik Suhaimi Nik Sulaiman, Mohammad Al-Saifi Hashim, Ahmad Akram, Rozaliana Zakaria, Mohamad Mustaffa P Kunyalam, Hazmida Harris Lee, Nadia Zulkefli, Tan Song Yan, Fatimah Hannah Abd Wahab, Munira Syahirah Mohamad Kamal, Nur Syakirin Yaccob and Wafa Zainal Abidin.

Najib is represented by counsels Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Harvinderjit Singh, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, Muhammad Farhan Muhammad Shafee and Syahirah Hanapiah, while Arul Kanda, 43, is represented by counsels Datuk N. Sivananthan, Jasmine Cheong and Dhanyaa Shreeya Sukumar.

In his application filed on Nov 13, Najib said that if the (audit report tampering) trial was to proceed as scheduled, he would suffer prejudice as he and his lawyers would require a reasonable and sufficient amount of time to prepare for his defence in the SRC case.

He also stated in the application that his defence team, at the same time, was also involved in the preparation of the other ongoing 1MDB case which began on Aug 28.

Najib's application, however, had been objected by Arul Kanda who urged the court to look at the interest of all the accused persons, not just one accused, and asked the court to proceed with the trial as he wanted to be given an opportunity to vindicate himself.

On Jan 4 this year, the Sessions Court granted the prosecution's application for the cases involving Najib and Arul Kanda to be heard together.

On Dec 12,2018, Najib was charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action against him.

He was charged, in his capacity as a public officer, which was as the Prime Minister, with using the position to obtain gratification for himself, which was to evade disciplinary, civil or criminal action against him in connection with 1MDB, by ordering alterations to the 1MDB final audit report before it was finalised and tabled to the PAC, where he directly had interest in.

Najib was accused of committing the offence at the Prime Minister's Department Complex, Federal Government's Administrative Centre, the Federal Territory of Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26,2016.

The charge is framed under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 which carries a maximum jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in making amendments to the report to protect Najib from being subjected to disciplinary, civil or criminal action in connection with 1MDB, at the same place and time and in accordance with Section 28(1)(c) of the MACC Act 2009 read with Section 23(1) and 24(1) of the same act which provides for similar punishment, if found guilty. – Bernama

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