KUALA LUMPUR: A former trustee of a foundation linked to Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today told the High Court that the former deputy prime minister had ordered him to sign blank cheques without being informed of the purpose of the cheques.
Mohd Samsuri Tun, 66, a former schoolmate of Zahid, said he only signed the cheques when told to do so by Zahid, who is one of the founders of Yayasan Akalbudi.
“In my tenure as a trustee holder of Yayasan Akalbudi, I have pre-signed cheques for the foundation, but I did not know the purpose of the cheques.
“The cheques I signed were blank,” he said when reading a witness statement on the second day of Zahid’s trial.
Zahid is facing 47 criminal charges involving millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
Samsuri, a former director of the foundation, said he was not involved in any activities of Yayasan Akalbudi and also did not discuss them with Zahid.
“I also did not discuss with Zahid about the current and future expenditure of Yayasan Akalbudi. I was also not referred to on the account statement or financial statement of the foundation,” he said when examined by deputy public prosecutor Lee Keng Fatt.
The fourth prosecution witness told the court that he did not know that Yayasan Akalbudi had millions of ringgit as he had no access to the bank statement, adding that the foundation did not table any annual financial statement.
Samsuri, now a businessman, said he was also ordered by Zahid to sign his letter of resignation as a director of Yayasan Akalbudi on April 4, 2012.
“I was told to resign as the bank had informed that I was unable to sign Yayasan Akalbudi cheques. I only received the instruction to resign as it was my stand not to be involved in or know about activities of the foundation,” he said.
Zahid’s lawyer Ahmad Zaidi Zainal then suggested to Samsuri that the resignation was not at the instruction of his client, but because he had received a bankruptcy notice from the bank.
Samsuri: Correct, but Ahmad Zahid is my boss, whatever orders given to me, I will follow. If he had said I could resume my post as director without the power to sign cheque, I would accept.
Ahmad Zaidi: You knew if you receive the bankruptcy notice, you will not be able to sign cheques. Zahid would not ask you to stop if you did not receive the notice.
To another question on whether he knew that Yayasan Akalbudi was set up to carry out welfare activities, Samsuri answered: “I am not sure but to my knowledge, the foundation was established to collect funds for Umno especially in the Bagan Datuk constituency and for Zahid’s political career.”
Samsuri said he was not aware that Zahid held various top posts in several companies including Kretam Holdings Berhad.
Ahmad Zaidi: Do you know in 1986, the share price of Kretam rose from RM1 a unit to RM15.70 a unit.
Samsuri: Not sure.
Samsuri said he did not know Zahid made a huge profit from the share price gain and channelled it to Yayasan Akalbudi.
Ahmad Zaidi: Do you know that the monthly income of Zahid in 1996 was RM120,000?
Questioned by Ahmad Zaidi whether he knew that out of the RM120,000, only RM30,000 or RM40,000 was used for his personal expenses while the balance was credited into Yayasan Akalbudi, Samsuri replied: “Not sure.”
Zahid, 66, pleaded not guilty to 47 charges with 12 of them for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving millions of ringgit in Yayasan Akalbudi funds.
The trial was conducted before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah.