RM2 mil donation to tahfiz school genuine, not requested by Zahid, says witness

Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (left) in court today. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Seri Jaya Perkasa Sdn Bhd managing director Mubarak Hussain Akhtar Husin told the High Court here that his RM2 million contribution to Sekolah Imtiaz Ulul Albab, in Masjid Tanah, Melaka, belonging to Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was sincere and not at the request of the former deputy prime minister.

Mubarak, 44, the 62nd prosecution witness, said this when cross-examined by lawyer Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, representing Zahid, who asked if his client had requested the contribution.

Asked if he knew the tahfiz school was funded by Zahid and Yayasan Akalbudi, the witness said “yes”.

He also agreed with the suggestion of another lawyer, Hamidi Mohd Noh, that the RM2 million contribution made through a cheque under the name Messrs Lewis & Co, a trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi belonging to Zahid, was his personal contribution and it had nothing to do with any project under the home ministry.

Asked by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi, during the re-examination, whether he was sure that Lewis & Co was the trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi, Mubarak replied: “Yes, I am sure.”

Earlier, Mubarak, who has been a good friend of Zahid since 2008, also confirmed that a cheque of RM2 million, earned from his business, was received by Lewis & Co on Nov 25, 2016.

“The cheque was deposited into Lewis & Co’s account by my employee at Maybank Islamic Berhad, Jalan Tun HS Lee. The signature on this cheque was mine and the handwriting on this cheque was my employee’s.

“The cheque was given to Lewis & Co as a sincere donation to Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s tahfiz school (Sekolah Imtiaz Ulul Albab).

“I gave this donation for the purpose of covering the monthly cost of the tahfiz school,” he said when reading out his witness statement during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffry Ong.

In addition, Mubarak said he bought Seri Jaya Perkasa Sdn Bhd in 2002 from a man known as “Abdul Syukur” because the company had a two-year contract worth RM20.5 million with KDN and it would be continued if agreed by the ministry.

“The contract was for the deportation of illegal immigrants,” he said.

Replying to an additional question from Harris on who directed him to write Lewis & Co on the cheque recipient column, Mubarak said “Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi”.

Harris Ong: Why would you use a personal cheque for a donation?

Mubarak Hussain: Because I personally wanted to donate … I’ve been to this tahfiz school twice. It can accommodate more than 200 students.

Earlier, three prosecution witnesses who testified today, all businessmen, told the court that they had approached a man named Omar Ali Abdullah to “solve” their financial problems, provided they issued a cheque with the recipient’s name left blank.

They claimed that Omar was able to provide hundreds of thousands of ringgit in cash and solve the companies’ problems. Omar was also seen in court during the proceedings.

For the 27th charge, Zahid is accused of having committed money-laundering by instructing Omar to convert for him a cash amount of RM6,885,300.20, which is income from illegal activities, into 30 cheques that were given to Messrs Lewis & Co for the opening of Maybank fixed deposit accounts.

Zahid is facing 47 charges, with 12 of them involving 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 before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.

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