KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in the graft trial of Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi took a swipe at the Umno president and his wife over their spending habits, questioning whether the couple had thought of the poor in the country as they spent money on luxury goods.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said a quick glance through the monthly credit card statements would show an extensive use of either one or all of the cards at any one time for purchases at high-street stores around the world and locally by Ahmad Zahid and his wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis.
“The spending habits of the accused and his wife... one cannot help but wonder whether they had in mind the poor people of Malaysia when they shopped at Armani and Hermes,” she said.
DPP Raja Rozela, however, acknowledged that the couple’s spending habits did not make up the legal issue in the case against Ahmad Zahid.
The prosecutor was making her submission on the issue of misappropriation at the end of the prosecution’s case in the corruption trial of Ahmad Zahid involving Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB).
In her submission, she said the accused had ‘treated the monies as if they were his own’ where 50 cheques were issued from YAB involving a total of RM13mil.
Forty-three out of the 50 cheques were payment for the credit cards between January 2014 and January 2016.
DPP Raja Rozela further submitted that ample evidence showed that several motor insurance policies and road tax for 20 motor vehicles had been bought and paid for using YAB funds.
“The total amount involved was RM107,509.55 and none of these vehicles belonged to YAB.
“The facts showed that at all material times, the registered vehicle owners were the accused and three others – Hamidah, BZ Motors and Juhari Janan,” she said here yesterday.
The prosecution also highlighted that a local football club became the beneficiary of YAB when it received a cheque for RM1.3mil and this was confirmed by the president of Persatuan Bola Sepak Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM), Datuk Zul Hisham Zainal, who is also Ahmad Zahid’s son-in-law.
Zul Hisham previously testified before the court that the club owed its players wage arrears and he had sought help for funds from his father-in-law while Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh had submitted that the RM1.3mil payment to the football club was to “eradicate poverty” among its players.
DPP Raja Rozela, however, refuted this, saying that being behind a couple of months in wage payment did not constitute poverty of the players.
“It does not make one poor. It does not make one destitute,” she said.
She then told the court to forget about the football players for a while and to take a look at the civil servants.
“The pay we receive is not extravagant. It is not that much.
“By the first week of pay day, half of the room would probably qualify as poor.
“Easily (we) qualify to receive ‘sumbangan’ (contribution) from YAB, courtesy of the accused,” she said in jest.
DPP Raja Rozela then gave the definition of poverty by the World Bank.
“Let’s just go back to basics and find out what poverty means.
“If we accept the definition of poverty by World Bank, I do not see how a football club can fit that definition.
“We humbly submit that the PDRM football club does not qualify for money from YAB,” she added.
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 YAB.
The hearing before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues today.