KUALA LUMPUR: It was erroneous to conclude that the donations that went into Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) charity foundation were proceeds from illegal activities, the High Court heard.
Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who represented the Umno president, said the conclusion by the prosecution was baseless and they had not crossed the threshold in proving that the 27 charges against Ahmad Zahid were within the meaning of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amla).
To prove the charges, Hisyam said it was fundamental to identify the unlawful activities that resulted in the act of money laundering, which Hisyam claimed the prosecution had failed to do.
“Out of the 27 Amla charges, based on the evidence adduced, there’s no sufficient proof for the court to make a finding in favour of the prosecution,” he said in his submissions at the end of the prosecution’s case here on Tuesday (Nov 30).
In the trial, Ahmad Zahid was alleged to have committed money laundering by engaging in direct transactions involving proceeds from illegal activities by instructing money changer Omar Ali Abdullah to convert for him a cash amount of RM7,511,250.20 into 35 cheques that were later given to Messrs Lewis & Co for the opening of Maybank fixed deposit accounts.
Hisyam also submitted that Omar Ali, who was said to have received the instructions from Ahmad Zahid to do so, did not commit any banking offences as the transactions were legitimate for charity purposes.
Omar Ali’s testimony that the monies had come from Yayasan Albukhary had never been investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Hisyam said.
He further submitted that the case against Ahmad Zahid could not be defended as the prosecution had failed to prove the element of money laundering in the charges.
Ahmad Zahid, 68, is facing 47 charges, 12 of them for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds from YAB.
The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Monday (Dec 6).