KUALA LUMPUR: The owner of Sarana Kencana Sdn Bhd (SKSB) Abu Hanifah Noordin failed to control his emotions and was in tears when testifying in the trial of former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on how his company was awarded the contract to supply passport chips for the government.
He was responding to a question by Zahid’s lawyer, Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, on what was special about SKSB that had enabled it to secure the contract.
Hanifah, 69, who is the 32nd prosecution witness and also director of Datasonic Technologies Sdn Bhd (DTSB), said DTSB was among the best and offered a reasonable price for the job, although there were several other companies which could supply the product.
“We (DTSB) are proud of what we do by offering the cheapest price and the best service, despite what was said by the government officers (during yesterday’s hearing), which were just rumours.
“We were disappointed that the then home minister (Zahid) believed the bad news and that was why we invited him to see the quality of our products.
“The home ministry then and its officers were so defensive of the old contractors,” he said, wiping his tears with a handkerchief.
Hanifah was testifying on the 15th day of Zahid’s corruption trial involving millions of ringgit in Yayasan Akalbudi funds and passport chip supply contracts with several companies.
Zaidi then asked Hanifah if he wanted to take a short break. Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah adjourned the hearing for 10 minutes to give time for the witness to calm down.
DTSB, which is owned by Hanifah and his wife, Ropi Riandani Dody Muchtar, is the parent company of Datasonic Group Berhad (DGB) and DTSB.
Earlier, when reading out his witness statement, Hanifah said SKSB donated RM6 million in political funds to Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN), which was paid through Lewis & Co, which is a trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi, owned by Zahid.
Hanifah, who is Zahid’s political acquaintance, said the payment was made through two Maybank cheques, for RM1 million and RM5 million, which he signed on April 25, 2017, after being asked by SKSB adviser Chew Ben Ben.
“Chew had asked me to leave the portion on the nominee blank. I didn’t know why the payment was made to Lewis & Co and I thought it was a payment for business and investments.
“I checked with Chew again and he informed me that the cheques were paid to Lewis & Co as a political contribution,” he said during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Gan Peng Kun.
Hanifah said he did not make the payment to Umno, BN or Zahid’s accounts.
“Chew informed me that the contribution for Umno and BN was because the home ministry had helped to enlist SKSB’s subsidiary, DGB, through the ‘Jejak Jaya ke Bursa’ scheme (SJJB), which was handled by the finance ministry,” he added.
A spokesman for DGB later clarified to FMT that SKSB is privately owned by Abu Hanifah’s family, and is not a parent company to DGB or DTSB.
“DGB is also not a subsidiary of SKSB,” the company said.
Zahid, 67, is facing 47 charges, with 12 of them for criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering, involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
The trial continues tomorrow.