Ahmad Zahid could not continue charity work after Yayasan Akalbudi funds were frozen, court told


KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi could not continue with his charity work because the funds in Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) were frozen after he was charged with corruption, the High Court here heard.

The Umno president, replying to his lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal on the first day of his defence trial on Wednesday (April 13), added: "After I was charged, I was unable to give any more aid."

Ahmad Zahid was first charged in relation to charitable foundation YAB on Oct 19, 2018.

The court also heard that most of YAB's funding in the early days following its inception came from Ahmad Zahid's own pocket, a mix of his salary and savings.

The savings also included profits from share trading as he was active in the corporate world before going into politics, he added.

At one point in his corporate career in the 1990s, the former deputy prime minister said he earned RM120,000 monthly and only spent between RM30,000 and RM40,000 for himself and his family.

He said he felt that the "excess of earnings" should be contributed to the benefit of society, the public and any deserving organisations.

"After the charity work of YAB became known to others from 2013, the foundation began to receive contributions from my friends such as Gen Tan Sri Mohamed Hashim Mohd Ali (the brother of Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali), businessmen Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, Tan Sri Halim Saad and Tan Sri Ahmad Johan," Ahmad Zahid said.

He added that YAB never solicited funds but would promote its activities to individuals or companies who could contribute to the foundation.

"YAB would not restrict any party from contributing to YAB," he said.

The Bagan Datuk MP also told the court that YAB had carried out activities such as the construction and improvement of mosques and surau, building of religious schools (Maahad Tahfiz) and Al-Quran study centres, orphanages and public community halls.

The funds from YAB were not only channelled to charity work in his constituency but also used for charity work overseas such as building a mosque in Yunan, China (RM3.8mil) and renovating a 400-year-old mosque in a Malay village in Cape Town, South Africa (US$1mil).

Apart from that, YAB also funded the cost of renovation for an old church bought by a Muslim community in Perth, Australia to be turned into a mosque.

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 continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Friday (April 15).

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