Cheques idea not from Zahid, says money changer

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is facing 47 charges of CBT, corruption and money laundering involving millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

KUALA LUMPUR: A money changer told the High Court here today that Ahmad Zahid Hamidi did not instruct him to use his contacts to issue cheques to replace cash donations meant for charity body Yayasan Akalbudi.

Omar Ali Abdullah, 48, said it was his own initiative.

He said this during cross-examination by lawyer Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, representing Zahid, in the trial of the former deputy prime minister, who is facing 47 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering involving funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

Zaidi: I suggest to you that Datuk Seri Zahid never gave instructions to you to find anyone who wants to convert the cash into cheques.

Omar: I agree.

He also agreed with Zaidi’s suggestion that the donations were not deposited into Yayasan Akalbudi’s accounts in cash because the bank would not accept deposits of more than RM500,000.

On Monday, Omar, who is alleged to have laundered money on behalf of Zahid, told the court that Zahid had asked him to help manage the cash donations.

Reading his witness statement, Omar said that after receiving instructions from Zahid to convert the cash into cheques, he had asked his contacts if they wanted to do so.

Previously, seven prosecution witnesses had told the court that Omar had suggested that they write the cheques by leaving the payer’s name field blank and to issue them to Lewis & Co, the trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi.

Zahid, 67, is facing 47 charges – 12 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.

On one of the charges, he is accused of money laundering by instructing Omar to convert for him cash amounting to RM6,885,300.20, which is income from illegal activities, into 30 cheques issued to Messrs Lewis & Co for the opening of fixed deposit accounts.

The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.