KUALA LUMPUR: A witness had “single-handedly” buried the prosecution’s case against Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) when he testified that the RM6mil he gave was meant for charity and was a political donation, the High Court was told.
Lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh, who is representing Ahmad Zahid in the corruption trial involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi, said 34th prosecution witness Chew Ben Ben (SP34) had testified that he did not bribe or reward the accused for Datasonic Technologies Sdn Bhd (DTSB) to be given a contract.
Hamidi was submitting in respect of Charges 14 and 15 in which Ahmad Zahid was accused of receiving RM5mil and RM1mil from Chew, who was then Datasonic Group Bhd deputy managing director, as a reward for having DTSB appointed to supply Malaysian passport chips for five years through direct negotiation between the company and the Home Ministry, of which Ahmad Zahid was then minister.
He said it was not unusual for DTSB to be awarded government contracts as the company had established its own reputation and standing in executing the government’s contracts over the years.
Hamidi added that the fact was supported with testimony from the 32nd prosecution witness Datuk Abu Hanifah Noordin (SP32), the then Datasonic Group Bhd CEO, who said that Datasonic Group and DTSB had been awarded some 30 government projects.
Abu Hanifah testified that since Datasonic Group was listed on Bursa Malaysia, the government projects it received were valued in the region of RM3bil.
“The reward of another contract to DTSB should not trigger any suspicion as DTSB has its own expertise and experience in performing the work required of it,” said Hamidi.
He further submitted that Chew had also testified during cross-examination that both Charges 14 and 15 were “fitnah” (libel).
Describing Chew as the “single most important witness” for the prosecution in both Charges 14 and 15, Hamidi said Chew’s evidence had disputed both the charges and this was coming from a man whose name was mentioned in both the charges as the “giver” of the gratification.
At this point, High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah asked the counsel if the witness would be exposing himself if he had agreed there existed corrupt practices.
“Wouldn’t he be inclined to distance himself?” the judge said.
Hamidi replied that the defence submitted there was no corruption and that the witness had come to court and testified it was “fitnah”.
“When they give the money, they did not intend to give it as corrupt money,” he added.
The judge also questioned why the RM6mil, the sum mentioned in Charges 14 and 15, was banked into Yayasan Akalbudi when it was meant as a political donation.
Hamidi replied that SP32, who gave the money, had viewed it as a political donation as well as an act of charity.
Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
The hearing continues before Justice Sequerah today.