KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The High Court was told that Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had requested for a RM10mil donation from a Singaporean entrepreneur for Yayasan Akalbudi owned by the former deputy prime minister, through Messrs Lewis & Co.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Christ Sheldon Anak Merun, 32, said in the meeting between Wong Sang Woo @ Wong Shuh Chain who is a director of Chia Bee Enterprise Sdn Bhd and Ahmad Zahid at a dinner in 2015, the accused said the contribution was to assist the poor and needy.
"Wong knew Ahmad Zahid for the first time in 2015 at a dinner. He introduced himself as the Home Minister and Wong introduced himself as an entrepreneur from Singapore involved in share investment, timber business, property investment, fashion attire and delivery agent.
"Wong said during the dinner, Ahmad Zahid asked him to donate as a philanthropist and Wong agreed to donate to Yayasan Akalbudi founded by Ahmad Zahid.
"At the end of the dinner, Ahmad Zahid mentioned a sum of RM10mil to Wong and he (Wong) said he would consider it as he needed time to come out with the amount," Christ Sheldon said when reading out his witness statement during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffrey Ong on Thursday (March 11).
The 98th witness said this in the 51st day of the trial of Ahmad Zahid who is facing charges of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving funds of Yayasan Akalbudi.
A total of 98 witnesses including nine MACC investigating officers had testified and another investigating officer will be called before the prosecution closes the case.
On Wednesday (March 10), MACC investigating officer, Mohd Amirudin Nordin, 38, told the court that MACC had recorded a conversation with Wong to carry out the investigation into the RM10mil contribution from Chia Bee to Yayasan Akalbudi via Messrs Lewis & Co.
Mohd Amirudin, who is the 96th prosecution witness, said Wong could not be detected to give his statement in court and a check with the Immigration Department showed he is now overseas.
According to Mohd Amirudin, his investigation did not find any supporting documents or letters to say the 10 cheques from Chia Bee amounting to RM10mil were donations.
In this regard, Christ Sheldon who recorded the conversation with Wong in a hotel in Kuching, Sarawak on Feb 22, 2019, said in early 2016, Wong received a call from a person who was ordered by Ahmad Zahid to enquire about the RM10mil apart from clarifying to Wong that it was for the charity work of Yayasan Akalbudi.
"Wong believed the request was true as the person also referred to the conversation between him and Ahmad Zahid in a dinner in 2015 and told him to make the donation payment to Messrs Lewis & Co (a trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi)," he said.
He said, Wong gave the contribution through his company (Chia Bee) as he felt it was privilege when a deputy prime minister asked for donation for Yayasan Akalbudi.
"As the owner of Chia Bee, he has the right to use the company to make the contribution. Wong used Chia Bee to make the donation as he wanted to raise the profile of the company in Malaysia, ” he said.
Christ Sheldon said Wong ordered the eligible cheque signatories to prepare 10 cheques for a sum of RM1mil each as requested by Ahmad Zahid and he did not know why the cheques had to be made separately and not in a single cheque.
"Wong could not remember the person who asked him to issue the cheque as he was not in Malaysia at that time and Wong did not contact Ahmad Zahid since the meeting in 2015 but in 2016, he knew that Ahmad Zahid had become the deputy prime minister, ” said the witness who joined MACC since 2014.
On the RM10mil loan from KTS Holdings Sdn Bhd, Christ Sheldon said Wong had borrowed RM10mil from KTS through a friend who was the late Ngu Ngiong Hieng who passed away in 2017.
"Wong said based on the friendship with Ngu, he was able to ask for the financial assistance of RM10mil as a temporary loan to enable him meet the pledge to Ahmad Zahid to donate to Yayasan Akalbudi.
"On the temporary loan obtained from Ngu, there was no agreement or documentation as it was based on their friendship and trust, ” he said.
According to the witness, Ahmad Zahid told his people to contact Wong for the contribution in early 2016 and Wong later arranged for the donation to be handed through his company and payment was made on April 21, 2016.
Ahmad Zahid, 68, is facing 47 charges with 12 of them involving criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption, and 27 on money laundering involving millions of funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
The trial is being heard before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah. - Bernama