Law Firm Not Formally Appointed To Handle Akalbudi Affairs Zahid Tells Court
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (centre) said he appointed Messrs Lewis & Co to handle Yayasan Akalbudi’s affairs because he was unhappy with the work of his former aide. (Bernama pic)KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here was told that there was no formal appointment to make a legal firm the trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi, the foundation which received millions in contributions via Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The former deputy prime minister testified in his corruption trial that no letter was sent to Messrs Lewis & Co on its appointment because it was “only a question of trust and understanding”.
“I know a lawyer from that firm and that was why I appointed them to be the trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi,” he said when cross-examined by deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong.
It was revealed in court during the prosecution stage that B Muralidharan, a partner with the legal firm, was entrusted by Zahid to handle 92 cheques for over RM76.9 million between May 2016 and April 2018.
The Umno president said he decided to appoint the legal firm in May 2016 because he was disappointed with the performance of his former aide, Major Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly.
“One of the reasons was that she (Mazlina) did not follow my instructions,” he said.
He said Mazlina had used the foundation’s cheques to pay his credit card bills without his instruction, knowledge or agreement.
He added that Mazlina had used a stamp of his signature on Yayasan Akalbudi cheques to settle the bills. She was also negligent in handling his credit card payments and never showed him the bank statements.
Zahid, who founded Yayasan Akalbudi, said he was happy with the legal firm’s performance as they had qualified people to handle its affairs.
Harris: I put it to you that they (the legal firm) served you according to your wishes.
Zahid: No, they followed all the rules in maintaining the client’s account. There was no negligence or slip-up on their part.
Zahid is charged with 27 counts of money laundering, 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving RM31 million from Yayasan Akalbudi and accepting bribes amounting to RM17 million for various projects during his tenure as home minister.
Twenty-five of the 27 money laundering charges are related to Zahid having given instructions to Muralidharan to put money in a fixed deposit account.
Trial judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah also allowed the defence’s application today to go on a site visit to see the status of two plots of land in Kajang that were donated by Yayasan Akalbudi to Al-Falah, another foundation, for religious purposes.
“In the interest of justice, I accede to the request of the defence but the visit will be done on another date,” he said.
The purchase of the property worth RM5.9 million is also the 26th money laundering charge faced by Zahid.
The hearing continues. - FMT
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