I gave RM9 mil to Zahid’s foundation to build mosques, MyEG shareholder tells court

Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is charged with CBT, corruption and money laundering involving millions of ringgit of Yayasan Akalbudi funds.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court heard today that a shareholder of a service provider contributed RM9 million to build two mosques through a foundation of which Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is a trustee.

Mohd Jimmy Wong Abdullah, who is also a non-executive director in MyEG Services Sdn Bhd, said he contributed RM600,000 each in 15 tranches through bankers’ cheques from May 2016 to March 2018.

“Zahid told me to deposit the money into the account of the legal firm Lewis & Co that manages the foundation,” the 78th prosecution witness said in his witness statement.

Wong said that in late 2015, Zahid invited him to his private residence for a thanksgiving ceremony and then asked whether he wanted to get a reward from Allah by doing good deeds.

“I replied in the affirmative and that is the reason I work hard,” he said.

Wong said Zahid, who was then deputy prime minister, asked him to contribute money for the building of a mosque in Melaka and another at his (Zahid’s) private residence in Country Heights, Kajang.

“Zahid asked me whether I could chip in and I replied anything less than RM10 million would be okay. Zahid said the money could be channelled to a foundation which he did not name,” he said.

Wong said he was only able to make payments in instalments as he was paid commissions to introduce employers who recruited illegal foreign workers.

He said he would obtain RM500 for each undocumented foreign worker and the money would be diverted into the account of a friend, Jimmy Ng.

Ng would then transfer the money to MyEG’s chief financial officer, Chong Chien Ming, who in turn would channel it to the legal firm.

Earlier, another witness, former Exim Bank chairman Mat Noor Nawi, said Zahid wanted to settle an outstanding loan repayment of a hotel management company amounting to US$2 million using money from a foundation.

Mat Noor said he met Zahid at the latter’s office on June 23, 2016.

“The aim of the meeting was to get approval from Exim Bank for Nurulhidayah (Zahid’s daughter) to acquire 60% shares of Ri-Yaz Asset Sdn Bhd that belonged to Rashid Manaf,” said Mat Noor, the 76th prosecution witness.

Ri-Yaz, the hotel management company, had a loan agreement for US$24.8 million, which had to be settled in eight years. But the company had an outstanding loan repayment of US$2.058 million.

“I informed Zahid that the outstanding amount must be settled first before Nurulhidayah could acquire Rashid’s shares,” he said.

Ri-Yaz, helmed by Rashid, had taken the loan to buy a hotel in Bali, Indonesia.

Mat Noor said Zahid said he would settle the outstanding amount by advancing the money that belonged to a foundation.

“However, he did not specifically mention the name of the foundation,” he said.

At the meeting, Mat Noor said, Zahid also stressed that Ri-Yaz had to repay the advanced amount to the foundation later.

Her said that in December 2016, the bank’s credit committee agreed to transfer the shares from Rashid to Nurulhidayah.

However, Rashid was maintained as guarantor for the loan and there was a condition that he had to hold 10% shares in Ri-Yaz.

Mat Nor said Rashid was a preferred guarantor because of his net worth, corporate strength and technical capabilities in monitoring the hotel project in Bali.

The prosecution today put Wong and Mat Noor on the stand to show that Zahid used the foundation to carry out money laundering activities.

Zahid, 67, is facing 47 charges, with 12 of them involving criminal breach of trust, eight involving corruption and 27 for money laundering involving millions of ringgit of Yayasan Akalbudi funds.

The trial before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah was adjourned to July 27.

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