No evidence of wrongdoing by Zahid involving millions to Yayasan Akalbudi, says lawyer

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi involving millions of ringgit from Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) as the star witnesses in the case have testified that the money given were meant as charity and political donation, the High Court heard.

Lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said the four witnesses - Junaith Asharab Md Shariff, Datuk Abu Hanifah Noordin, Chew Ben Ben, and Azlan Shah Jaffril - were crucial to eight charges (Charges 11 until 18) against Ahmad Zahid.

Yet, none of them testified that the money was corruptly given to YAB.

Hisyam said the witnesses affirmed that the payments were rewards in return for government contracts.

“It is clear that they knew the money was a donation and meant for charity or political purposes," he said here on Tuesday (Sept 21).

Hisyam also said it was "strange" that charges were filed despite the witnesses saying the money was not a form of bribe.

Earlier, Hisyam was submitting in respect to Charges 16, 17 and 18, and said that the prosecution had failed to prove that three cheques amounting to RM2mil was a reward for Ahmad Zahid for appointing Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd (PRSB) to be the service provider for One-Stop Centre (OSC) in Pakistan and Nepal.

The OSC is a visa processing centre for Pakistani and Nepali workers.

In fact, Hisyam said the appointment of PRSB went through a proper process and contrary to the charges preferred, it was clear the accused did not on his own appoint the company.

Hisyam said the evidence by Azlan, who is the 38th prosecution witness (SP38) and PRSB director, had "destroyed" the prosecution's case when the witness said the monies were charity and political donation.

The lawyer referred to three cheque butts or stubs, where the word "charity" was written on a RM300,000 cheque (Charge 16), "political donation for TPM" on a RM1mil cheque (Charge 17) and "charity" on a RM700,000 cheque (Charge 18).

"SP38, in his evidence, both given in examination-in-chief and in cross-examination, never said or made the slightest hint that these payments were rewards given to the accused for appointing PRSB as operator of the OSC for both Pakistan and Nepal.

"In fact, he strongly denied that they were rewards in the context of these charges. Charges 16, 17 and 18 will fall flat to the ground," he said.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges - 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering - involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Wednesday (Sept 22).

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