Zahid withdrew RM17.9mil from Yayasan Akalbudi's bank account, witness tells court

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The High Court was told that Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was involved in the withdrawal of RM17.9mil from Yayasan Akalbudi funds for the purchase of shares as well as to be placed as fixed deposits.

While showing the flow chart of the withdrawal to the court on Friday (March 5), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Muhammad Fazli Zulkifli, 36, explained that of the amount, RM8.6mil was paid to Ri-Yaz Assets Sdn Bhd as deposit for a share purchase with another RM9.3mil was placed as fixed deposits.

"The withdrawal of money from Yayasan Akalbudi's Affin Bank account to be transferred to a Maybank account belonging to Messrs Lewis & Co (the foundation's trustee) was instructed by Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid," Muhammad Fazli said when reading his witness statement during the examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi.

He said this on the 47th day of the trial of Ahmad Zahid, who is facing corruption, abuse of power and money laundering charges involving millions of ringgit in funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.

The 93rd prosecution witness said that RM8.6mil was paid to Ri-Yaz Assets as a deposit for the purchase of 60% of the company's shares owned by Tan Sri Rashid Abdul Manaf, by Ahmad Zahid's daughter, Datuk Nurulhidayah.

"The RM8.6mil payment was made through law firm, Messrs Lewis & Co, to Ri-Yazz Assets after discussions between Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid, Datuk Nurulhidayah, Datuk Mohammad Shaheen Shah Mohd Sidek (director of Ri-Yaz Assets), Datuk Mat Noor Nawi (chairman of Exim Bank) and Norzilah Mohamad (CEO of Exim Bank).

"Nurulhidayah was interested in acquiring Tan Sri Rashid's 60% stake in Ri-Yaz Assets and had asked Exim Bank to restructure the company's loan with Exim Bank, to extend the loan period and to remove Tan Sri Rashid's name as guarantor by replacing it with her (Nurulhidayah's) name," he said.

He said that his investigations found that Ri-Yaz Assets had paid its arrears amounting to RM8.3mil (US$2.058mil) to Exim Bank using money obtained from Lewis & Co to settle the company's loan it had taken to purchase a hotel in Bali, Indonesia.

"There was a surplus due to the difference in the exchange rate of RM to USD at that time amounting to RM254,879.10. The money was returned to the law firm via cheque," he said.

Muhammad Fazli said his investigations also found that Nurulhidayah was appointed as the director of Ri-yaz Assets Sdn Bhd on Jan 27,2017 to replace Abdul Rashid, who resigned as a director on the same date.

He said that Nurulhidayah then resigned as a director of the company on Jan 31,2017. However, both parties, namely, Rashid and Nurulhidayah, did not proceed with the share sale and purchase agreement.

"After the discontinuation of share sale and purchase agreement, Datuk Nurulhidayah and Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid requested that the money amounting to RM8.3mil be returned to Lewis & Co because it is Yayasan Akalbudi's money," he said.

The witness also said that his investigations found that Nurulhidayah did not have any position in Yayasan Akalbudi.

"At that time, Datuk Nurulhidayah was working as marketing director with Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB)," he said when answering additional questions during the examination-in-chief by Ahmad Sazilee.

Ahmad Zahid, 68, 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 of funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.

The trial before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Monday. – Bernama

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