KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will answer his 47 charges involving criminal breach of trust (CBT), corruption and money laundering charges in relation to Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) funds, on Wednesday (April 13).
His counsel, Hamidi Mohd Noh when contacted said his client will be the first witness to take the stand when the defence trial begins at 9am before High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
The judge had previously fixed 39 days to hear the defence's case, the dates being April 13 and 15, May 23-26, June 27-30, July 1, 4-7, Aug 22, 23, 29,30, Sept 19-22, 26-29, Oct 17-20 and 31, Nov 1-3, 7-10.
The Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament opted to testify under oath from the witness stand with the prosecution given the opportunity to question the accused during cross-examination.
On Jan 24, Justice Sequerah ordered Ahmad Zahid to enter his defence on 12 CBT charges, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to the foundation.
The judge ruled that the prosecution had proven all the ingredients of all the charges and successfully made out a prima facie case against the accused.
On March 19, 2021, the prosecution closed its case after calling 99 witnesses including Ahmad Zahid's former special officer Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Wan Omar; legal firm Lewis & Co partner B. Muralidharan, money changer Omar Ali Abdullah and Ahmad Zahid's former executive secretary Major Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly.
The trial began on Nov 18, 2019.
For the CBT charges, Ahmad Zahid was alleged to have used the funds to make six payments for his personal credit cards usage, insurance policy and licence for his personal vehicles, remittances to a law firm and contributions to the Royal Malaysia Police Football Association.
The offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank Berhad branch in Jalan Bunus off Jalan Masjid India, here, between Jan 13, 2014, and Dec 23, 2016.
The charges, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, provide for a jail term of between two and 20 years, and with whipping, and fine, upon conviction.
Ahmad Zahid was also charged with eight counts of bribery, where he was alleged to have accepted bribes from three companies, namely Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, Data Sonic Group Bhd and Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd as an inducement for him, in his capacity as Home Minister then, to help the companies to obtain MyEG projects, supply passport chips and to be appointed the operator of the migrant visa one-stop centres in Pakistan and Nepal, respectively.
He was charged with committing the offences, framed under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, at the Maybank branch at Dataran Maybank in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, here, between July 15, 2016, and March 15, 2018.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Umno president, also faced 27 charges of money laundering by engaging in direct transactions involving income from illegal activities between March 29, 2016, and April 11, 2018.
All the offences were allegedly committed at Malayan Banking Berhad, Dataran Maybank branch, Level 1, Tower A, No. 1 Jalan Maarof, Bangsar and Marhaba Enterprise Sdn Bhd, LG 1.15, Fahrenheit88, 179 Jalan Bukit Bintang, here, between March 29, 2016, and April 11, 2018. - Bernama