Zahid graft trial: High Court pays a visit to two bungalows in Country Heights

KAJANG: The corruption trial of Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi left the confines of the usual courtroom for a visit to the two bungalow lots in the affluent neighbourhood of Country Heights here, said to have been bought by the Umno president using money from his charity foundation Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB).

Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah, along with the prosecution, the defence team, court staff and the police, stepped inside the gated community to see a single-storey bungalow that was converted into Yayasan Al-Falah.

ALSO READ: Zahid’s trial deferred again as witness still in quarantine

Outside of the bungalow, a green bunting was hung horizontally with the words "Yayasan Al-Falah" and "Persatuan Tarekat Malaysia (Pertama)".

The bungalow with a sprawling compound and a porch that could easily fit six cars was a venue for many religious programmes for retirees as well as the public, said one of its caretakers when met there.

ALSO READ: Zahid's graft trial postponed to Aug 10, witness still Covid-19 positive

Within walking distance of Yayasan Al-Falah was another single-storey bungalow that was converted into Madrasah Tahfiz Al-Falah.

There is a boarding room with double-decker beds specifically to house "hafiz" students (religious students who memorise the Quran) in the madrasah.

ALSO READ: Bungalows bought at discount as owner needed money urgently, Zahid tells court

During the visit by the court and the media, a group of students were in the middle of a Quran recitation.

Justice Sequerah was seen taking a look around the bungalow lots while accompanied by defence lawyers Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, Hamidi Mohd Noh and Datuk Zaidi Ahmad Zainal.

ALSO READ: Zahid accuses DPP of trying to ‘trap’ him by repeating questions

Deputy Public Prosecutors Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong and Abdul Malik Ayob were also present.

The visit ended around 11.25am.

On July 6, Hisyam proposed to the court for a site visit to the two bungalow lots which were central to some of the charges against Ahmad Zahid.

ALSO READ: Zahid: Tycoon sold bungalow because he needed cash

According to Hisyam, the visit would give a clear picture on the current status of the bungalows, their location and the distance of both bungalow lots to Surau An-Nur.

Ahmad Zahid then told the court that the two bungalows were closest to Surau An-Nur in Country Heights and far from his residence, which was also in Country Heights.

ALSO READ: Ahmad Zahid's corruption trial: Judge to visit two bungalows in country heights, Kajang

The court had previously heard testimony from Ahmad Zahid that he bought the two bungalow units at a "discounted" price of RM5.9mil from Country Heights founder and chairman Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew in 2017.

The smaller Lot 403 (the madrasah) measured at 1,787 sq ft was purchased at RM2.9mil.

The bigger Lot 356 (Yayasan Al-Falah) measures at 1,872 square feet and was purchased at RM3mil.

Ahmad Zahid is on trial for 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 (YAB).

The hearing continues on Friday (Aug 5).

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