Zahid Trial: Judge Asks Why Businessman Handed Over RM6 Million Checks To Charitable Foundation If It Was A ‘Political Donation’ | Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, September 20 – High Court judge hearing the trial of Umno President Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today asked why two checks totaling RM 6 million were sent to the Yayasan Akalbudi charitable foundation – of which Zahid is a director – if the money was intended for “political donation” purposes.
Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer, Hamidi Mohd Noh, responded by saying that the businessman who donated RM6 million considered âpolitical donationâ and âcharitable donationâ to be the same thing.
Hamidi presented arguments in court today on why Ahmad Zahid should be released from two corruption charges involving the RM6 million checks.
Under these two corruption charges, Ahmad Zahid is accused of having, on April 26, 2017, received by corruption a gratuity from the director of Datasonic Group Berhad, Chew Ben Ben, in the form of two checks issued by Sarana Kencana Sdn Bhd for RM 5 million and RM 1 million respectively as a “reward.” â.
In these two counts, Ahmad Zahid was also accused of having, as Minister of the Interior, carried out a transaction in which Datasonic Technologies Sdn Bhd was appointed to supply Malaysian passport chips for five years thanks to a direct negotiation between the latter company and the Ministry of the Interior.
Today, Hamidi listed six reasons why the defense argued that the prosecution could not prove a prima facie case or sufficient evidence that would compel Ahmad Zahid to present his defense on these two charges.
Hamidi said the first reason was that two prosecution witnesses – senior officials from Datasonic Group Berhad – told the court that the RM6 million is not “rewards”, bribes or money. corrupt money.
The first of these witnesses is Datuk Abu Hanifah Noordin, then Managing Director of Datasonic Group Berhad (32nd Prosecution Witness), who was also Director of the family business Sarana Kencana, while the second witness mentioned is the Deputy Managing Director of Datasonic Group Berhad, Chew Ben Ben (34th prosecution witness). Abu Hanifah retired from Datasonic Group Berhad on January 31, 2020, while Chew resigned from the same company in March 2021.
Referring to Chew’s testimony in court that the two corruption charges against Ahmad Zahid are defamatory, Hamidi said it was “ridiculous” for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to bring charges and that a witness then come to court and say that such accusations are “fitnah” or defamatory.
High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah then asked for clarification, asking if a witness would expose himself if he agreed that there were corrupt practices: âWouldn’t he be inclined to distance himself from corrupt practices? ?
Hamidi then replied: âWe submit because there is no corruption, the witness came to court and said it as is – It is a fitnah. When they donate money, they did not intend to give it away as corrupt money.
Chew previously told the court that in April 2017 he handed the two checks totaling RM 6 million to Ahmad Zahid at the latter’s official residence as Deputy Prime Minister at the time, and also told the court that the money was intended for “political donations to Barisan Nasional through Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi”.
Today, Hamidi said the two checks were both made payable to the client account of the law firm Lewis & Co, claiming the law firm held the RM6 million in trust for the charitable foundation. Yayasan Akalbudi.
Hamidi said Abu Hanifah previously told the court that the RM6 million was a political donation which he also considered a charitable donation, and that is why the funds were given to Yayasan Akalbudi via Lewis & Co .
At this point, the judge asked, “If this is a political donation, why would the money go to Yayasan Akalbudi?” “
The judge also asked: “What do you mean by political donation is also a charitable donation?”
Hamidi replied: âHe said ‘this is a political donation, I would also say a charitable donation’. So for him, he says it’s interchangeable, that’s why he said, too bad, let’s go to Yayasan Akalbudi.
Hamidi went on to say that whether it was a charitable or political donation, the question to be answered was whether the RM6 million checks were a “bribe, of the corruption money, a bonus “. He argued, however, that the money was not a bribe.
In this trial, Zahid – who is a former interior minister and currently president of Umno – faces 47 counts, namely 12 counts of breach of trust in connection with the funds of the Yayasan charitable foundation. Akalbudi, 27 counts of money laundering and eight counts of corruption charges.
The trial resumes tomorrow.