KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in the criminal trial of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the High Court here today that the former deputy prime minister had embezzled RM31 million in funds from Yayasan Alakbudi, none of which was used to benefit the poor.
Deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran said the prosecution would prove that the money was entrusted to Zahid in his capacity as a member of the board of trustees.
“The money trail will reveal that not a single sen of the RM31 million was used for the poor.
“Instead, a substantial amount was used to pay for personal credit card bills and purchase motor vehicle insurance policies and road tax for privately owned vehicles, among others,” she said in her opening statement before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
Between Oct 19 last year and Feb 20 this year, Zahid pleaded not guilty to 12 charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight charges of corruption and 27 charges of money laundering involving a total of RM117.25 million.
The prosecution is expected to call 20 witnesses to testify on the CBT charges.
On the corruption charges, Raja Rozela said Zahid, who was home minister from 2016 to 2018, allegedly received RM17 million as a reward for the award of contracts to several companies.
“These contracts were entered into with the ministry and the accused was instrumental in awarding them,” she said.
She also said Zahid had been cashing in on his ministerial position when he received a further RM4.25 million from an individual.
She said the payments were corruptly received as an inducement to help secure the MyEG projects under the purview of the ministry.
For these charges, the prosecution will call 15 witnesses, relying on the statutory presumption under Section 50(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act.
Raja Rozela said Zahid also laundered RM65 million when receiving the money in the form of cheques from individuals known and unknown to him.
“These cheques were delivered to a lawyer (Muralidharan of Messrs Lewis & Co) who, in turn, would deposit the money into the firms’ clients’ account,” Raja Rozela added.
She said a substantial portion was placed as fixed deposits under the firm’s name while two bungalow units valued at RM5.9 million were purchased using the laundered money.
Raja Rozela said witness testimonies and documentary evidence would show that Zahid knew or had reason to believe that the millions of ringgit were proceeds of unlawful activities.
Zahid, who is Umno president, also faces another 40 charges of graft involving the Immigration Department Visa System that will be heard in Shah Alam at a later time.