Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had allegedly failed to channel even a single sen to the poor from the RM31 million in Yayasan Akalbudi funds, which was set up with the objective of helping the group and others in need.
The allegation was stated by DPP Raja Rozela Raja Toran in her opening statement at the criminal trial against Ahmad Zahid connected to the foundation, which commences at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.
Ahmad Zahid, who is former deputy prime minister, is facing a total of 47 charges, including 12 criminal breach of trust, eight counts of receiving gratification, and 27 counts of money laundering involving Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds.
The trial is presided by Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah, and the accused was represented by Hisham Teh Poh Teik.
Raja Rozela said the prosecution aimed to prove that Ahmad Zahid had misappropriated about RM31m from the funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi, which was an incorporated organisation set up to channel assistance to the poor and needy.
“Money-trail to be presented in court will reveal that not a single cent out of the RM31m was used for the benefit of the poor.
“Instead, the money-trail will show that a substantial amount had been used, among others, to pay for personal credit card bills, and to make purchases for motor-vehicle insurance policies and road taxes for private-owned vehicles,” she said.
Raja Rozela told the court that the prosecution would then continue the trial with the bribery charges against Ahmad Zahid, who was accused of receiving RM17m when he was the Home Minister as gratification of awarding three contracts to several companies.
Ahmad Zahid was also accused of receiving RM4.25m from “someone” around the same time for awarding MyEG project to a company. MyEG was a project that fell under the ministry’s control.
On the money laundering charges, Ahmad Zahid was accused of receiving cheques estimated to be worth RM65m from several parties, which were deposited into his account through a lawyer.
He had allegedly used the money to purchase two bungalows worth RM5.9m.
“Witness testimonies and documentary evidence will be adduced to show proof that the accused knew or had reason to believe that the millions of ringgit he had received were proceeds from unlawful activity,” Raja Rozela added.
Ahmad Zahid was slapped with the charges on Oct 19 and Dec 14 last year, and Feb 20 this year.
All the charges were made under Section 409 of the Penal Code (for criminal breach of trust); Section 16(1)(a)(B) of the MACC Act 2019 (bribery); and Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amlatfapua).
The prosecution is planning to call 20 witnesses to testify against Ahmad Zahid for the CBT charges, and another 15 witnesses for the bribery charges.
Judge dismisses Zahid’s application to challenge constitutionality of charges
Before the commencement of the trial this morning, the judge delivered his decision dismissing Ahmad Zahid’s application to challenge the constitutionality of several charges against him under the MACC Act and Amlatfapua.
Hisham Teh had earlier submitted to the court that they are mounting the challenge as it involves admissibility of documents to be produced by the prosecution.
The judge ruled that he agreed with Raja Rozela’s submission that Ahmad Zahid’s application was premature as the trial had not started.
“This challenge, at the time being, is premature as it is presumptuous in nature towards admissibility of documents prepared by the prosecution,” said the judge.
However, he ordered that all documents being disputed in the trial to be marked for identification, and any challenge should be raised along the course of the trial.
“I will decide the admissibility of the documents during submission at the end of prosecution’s case,” said the judge.