Zahid's trial: RM360k of Akalbudi funds used for voter registration, court told

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The High Court here was told on Tuesday (Dec 10) that RM360,000 from Akalbudi Foundation was used for voter registration, in cooperation with Umno, in August 2015 and November 2016.

TS Consultancy & Resources co-owner Jasni Majid, 65, said his company had received RM100,000 on Aug 20, 2015, and RM260,000 on Nov 25, 2016, from the deputy prime minister’s office (DPMO) at that time, namely Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic).

He said the funds were received through two Affin Bank Berhad cheques from Akalbudi Foundation to his company.

Jasni said DPMO had provided funds to his company to help carry out work related to voter registration, as the Special Unit (Strategic Management) came under the office’s purview.

"Voter registration was conducted in selected areas, focusing on those won by Barisan Nasional in the previous general election by a thin margin, with priority on Malay voters," said the 16th prosecution witness.

Jasni was reading from his witness statement during the examination-in-chief by DPP Mohd Afif Ali on the 10th day of the trial, in which Zahid is facing 47 charges of misappropriating funds from Akalbudi Foundation, amounting to millions of ringgit.

The first prosecution witness, Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) executive Pinny Asnan had told the court that the objective of establishing Akalbudi Foundation was to receive and administer funds to eradicate poverty.

She said that according to the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Akalbudi Foundation signed by Zahid on March 7, 1997, it was established as a limited company for charitable purposes.

During a cross-examination by lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh representing Zahid, Jasni agreed with Hamidi's suggestion that based on records with the SSM, TS Consultancy & Resources was registered as a business dealing with training and motivation courses.

The witness also agreed that there was no 'voter registration' mentioned in the business license.

Meanwhile, the 17th prosecution witness, Sabri Said, 48, who previously served as an officer in the Special Unit (Strategic Management) at the DPMO from April 2014 to December 2016, confirmed that TS Consultancy & Resources had received funds (cheques) from Zahid through Akalbudi Foundation twice in 2015 and 2016, amounting to RM360,000.

"The DPMO at the time helped provide funds to the company to carry out voter registration tasks as the Special Unit (Strategic Management) was under DPMO," he said when reading his witness statement.

To a supplementary question from DPP Mohd Afif, Sabri said that TS Consultancy & Resources was set up to carry out tasks for the Special Unit (Strategic Management), as the unit needed additional manpower to perform fieldwork such as voter registration.

"At that time, the special unit had only one officer and one clerk, led by Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Wan Omar," said Sabri, who is now working in the Penang Information Department.

Mohd Afif: What is the role of the Special Unit (Strategic Management) under DPMO?

Sabri: When the unit was established, it was given the mandate to carry out tasks related to voter registration and to look at aspects such as re-delineation of either the Parliament or state constituencies, as well as to monitor elections.

Ahmad Zahid, 66, faces 47 charges, 12 of them for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit from Akalbudi Foundation.

The trial before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Wednesday (Dec 11).- Bernama

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