Zahid ordered withdrawal of RM17.9 mil from foundation, says witness

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is facing 47 charges involving criminal breach of trust, bribery and money laundering.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who established the foundation, Yayasan Akalbudi, instructed a bank officer to withdraw RM17,953,185.21 from the foundation’s fixed deposit account to be paid to Messrs Lewis & Co, the trustee of the foundation.

The High Court here heard this testimony today from Narimah Miswadi, 47, an operations officer at Affin Bank on Jalan Bunus here, who said Zahid had also told her to make the payment through a banker’s cheque.

Narimah told the court that during a meeting with Zahid on June 16, 2016 at his office in Putrajaya, he had told her that the purpose of the withdrawal was to construct a Yayasan Akalbudi building in Bagan Datuk, Perak.

Following that, Narimah had sought approval from the bank’s headquarters for the foundation to use a banker’s cheque to make the payment to Messrs Lewis & Co.

On June 23, 2016, she gave a letter from the foundation requesting the same to cashier Royasmin Mohd Roddy, at the Jalan Bunus branch, who then completed the necessary forms and a banker’s cheque for Narimah to inspect.

Narimah, the sixth prosecution witness, said this on the third day of trial in the case against Zahid, 66, who faces 47 charges, involving criminal breach of trust, bribery and money laundering, using Yayasan Akalbudi funds totalling millions of ringgit.

Asked during cross-examination by lawyer Ahmad Zaidi Zainal on whether Zahid had informed her that the money was to be used to build a tahfiz centre and mosque in Bagan Datuk, Narimah replied: “I don’t remember. To my recollection, it was the Akalbudi building in Bagan Datuk.”

Pressed further by Zaidi on why she did not question the rationale behind making the payment to Messrs Lewis & Co, as opposed to a developer, Narimah said: “At the time, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid was the deputy prime minister. I could not refuse to carry out the instructions.”

She added that she was not sure if Messrs Lewis & Co served as the trustee of the foundation.

Hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.