KUALA LUMPUR: A businessman told the High Court here today that he had contributed RM6.6 million to a foundation belonging to Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as a means of introducing himself to Zahid, who was then deputy prime minister, as well as to “secure a job”.
Ng Hong Sing, 56, director of MTM Network Sdn Bhd testified that he had asked a friend to arrange an introduction to Zahid, through a “Datuk Ruzi”, said to be a strongman in Zahid’s constituency of Bagan Datuk, Perak.
Ruzi was said to be close to Zahid, Ng said when reading his witness statement at Zahid’s trial on charges of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving millions of ringgit in funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.
Ng, the 79th prosecution witness, said: “In January 2016, Ruzi told me that he could introduce me to the accused ( Zahid), but I must make a contribution to the latter’s Yayasan Akaludi ‘to get the job’,” Ng said.
The businessman said a week later, he and Ruzi went to Zahid’s house but told Ruzi that he could only contribute RM3 million.
“When I arrived at the accused’s house, there were a lot of people waiting to see him. After Ruzi introduced me to the accused, Zahid thanked me for the contribution.
“I told him I was willing to donate RM3 million and the accused said as for the rest of the dealings, I could contact Ruzi,” he said, adding that the meeting lasted about five to six minutes.
Ng said Ruzi then told him that he (Ruzi) could get a bigger project if he donated more (higher amount) to Yayasan Akalbudi, to which the witness replied that the most he could give was RM6 million.
“Around February 2016, Ruzi contacted me and asked about the contribution. I negotiated with Ruzi that I could pay the RM6 million in instalments within a year as the company did not have enough money,” he said.
During the examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Jeffry Ong, the witness said the financial resources (for contribution) were received as loans from his friends.
Harris Ong: Until today, have you received any returns?
However, during cross-examination by lawyer Ahmad Zaidi Zainal for the defence, Ng agreed that the contribution made was not deemed as corruption but it was for charity.
The witness also agreed that Zahid did not promise anything (project) from the contribution and the words (about project) only came from Ruzi.
Zahid, 67, faces 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 in funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.