RM17.9mil from Yayasan Akalbudi funds withdrawn without board's consent, says witness in Zahid's trial

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The High Court was told that the withdrawal of RM17.9mil from Yayasan Akalbudi funds was a criminal breach of trust because it did not get the consent of the other charity foundation’s board of trustees.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Muhammad Fazli Zulkifli, 36, said the withdrawal of the 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 Hamidi.

The 93rd prosecution witness said this during re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Sazilee Abdul Khairi, on the 48th day of the trial of the former deputy prime minister on Monday (March 8).

Ahmad Zahid is facing corruption, abuse of power and money laundering charges involving millions of ringgit in funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.

Last Friday, Muhammad Fazli told the court that Ahmad Zahid 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.

Of the amount, he said RM8.6mil was paid to Ri-Yaz Assets Sdn Bhd as deposit for a share purchase with another RM9.3mil to be placed as fixed deposits.

Ahmad Sazilee: Based on your investigation on Messrs Lewis & Co, the holder of RM17.9mil, who gave instructions in regards with the money to the firm.

Muhammad Fazli: All instructions received by Lewis & Co were from Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and Lewis & Co will not act without instructions.

The witness also confirmed that no other members of Yayasan Akalbudi’s board of trustees had given instructions to Lewis & Co, specifically its partner B. Muralidhahran.

On Ahmad Zahid’s cautioned statement to the MACC during the investigation into the case involving the investment in Ri-Yaz Assets, Muhammad Fazli said it contradicted the testimony of other witnesses.

"Based on Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid’s statement, he said Yayasan Akalbudi was interested in investing (in Ri-Yaz Assets) in the hotel sector, but the testimony from other witnesses said that Datuk Nurulhidayah (Ahmad Zahid’s daughter) was interested to make an investment, and payment was made by Yayasan Akalbudi, ” said Muhammad Fazli.

Ahmad Sazilee: What about the testimony of Tan Sri Rashid Manaf (shareholder of Ri-Yaz Assets).

Muhammad Fazli: According to Tan Sri Rashid, Datuk Nurulhidayah expressed interest in investing in Ri-Yaz Assets.

Asked whether there were any documents on the investment, Muhammad Fazli replied,"No, it involved only two parties, Nurulhidayah and Tan Sri Rashid. During the investigation I also did not find any document saying that Nurulhidayah was an observer or proxy in Ri- az Assets."

Ahmad Zahid, 68, faces 47 charges, 12 of them for criminal breach of trust, 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. - Bernama

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