KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 – Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi continued in court today to blame his former executive secretary, insisting he did not know and never ordered him to use the checks of Yayasan Akalbudi bearing his signature to pay for his personal vehicle insurance policies and road tax.
Ahmad Zahid, a former Deputy Prime Minister, is also a director of the Yayasan Akalbudi charity which he founded and of which he later became the sole signatory.
Testifying for his own defense in the alleged criminal breach of trust trial involving over RM31 million of Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, Ahmad Zahid had since yesterday accused his former executive secretary, Major Mazlina [email protected], of using the checks from the charity for his personal expenses such as paying his and his wife’s credit card bills and for vehicle insurance policies.
At one point today, Ahmad Zahid challenged Mazlina’s previous testimony – as the 90th prosecution witness in the trial – that he never asked the secretary why she hadn’t used her personal checks and that he never asked why she presented checks from Yayasan Akalbudi for him to sign. for credit card bills.
Dismissing such testimony as allegedly false, Ahmad Zahid claimed in court today: “I have never and will never allow Mazlina to use Yayasan Akalbudi’s checks for my personal use.
Ahmad Zahid also claimed that he never authorized Mazlina to use a stamp of his signature – which he previously claimed to be for Hari Raya cards – or Yayasan Akalbudi checks he allegedly pre-signed for urgent payments. to be carried out for the construction of the foundation. projects when he is abroad, for his personal use.
In this lawsuit, Ahmad Zahid faces 12 charges of breach of trust involving more than RM31 million of Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, namely the alleged embezzlement of funds entrusted to him – RM1.3 million via 43 checks for his and his wife’s credit card bills, RM107,509.55 via three checks for car insurance and road tax for 20 private vehicles, a check for RM1.3 million to the association police football boots, a check for RM10 million for a loan to Armada Holdings Sdn Bhd, RM360,000 via two checks to political consultancy TS Consultancy & Resources, and more than RM17.9 million in transferred funds of Yayasan Akalbudi at the law firm Lewis & Co.
Zooming in on the RM107,509.55 he is accused of embezzling to pay road tax and insurance policies for his personal vehicles, Ahmad Zahid claimed the accusation was false as he insisted that it was his secretary who was at fault.
“I declare that these checks are checks from Yayasan Akalbudi which I had pre-signed for the use of Yayasan Akalbudi. But Mazlina had misused these checks to make payments for car insurance policies and driver’s licenses “, said Ahmad Zahid.
Ahmad Zahid insisted that it was impossible for him to have issued these Yayasan Akalbudi checks for his personal vehicle insurance policies and road tax, saying it was because his signature on the three checks totaling RM107,509.55 and the handwriting for the recipient’s name and amount was written using two different inks.
“Here is my signature, here is the addressee and the amount, the ink I signed is different from the ink of the other writings, so it is impossible for me to write with a different ink,” he said. said about one such check, adding that the name of the recipient and the amount of the check were not written by him or his handwriting.
He also repeated similar answers for the other two checks for road tax and car insurance policies.
Ahmad Zahid disputed Mazlina’s previous testimony that he personally signed these three checks totaling RM107,509.55 in her presence without questioning why she gave him Yayasan Akalbudi checks to sign, and her previous testimony that Ahmad Zahid would as usual verify the details of the check before signing. the checks.
Disagreeing with Mazlina’s testimony, Ahmad Zahid claimed that he never authorized Mazlina to use the Yayasan Akalbudi checks – which he claimed to have pre-signed – to pay road tax and insurance policies for his personal vehicles.
Ahmad Zahid claimed to have no personal knowledge and insisted he never ordered Mazlina to use the Yayasan Akalbudi checks he allegedly pre-signed for road tax and insurance policies , also saying he had no idea Mazlina would use the checks for such purposes. and that he would have “immediately stopped his actions” if he had known she would.
Mazlina served as Ahmad Zahid’s executive secretary from December 2011 to May 2018.
About RM17.9m and why it was sent to a law firm
As to why he requested in June 2016 that more than RM17.9 million of Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds be transferred to law firm Lewis & Co, Ahmad Zahid blamed Mazlina’s mistakes for triggering his decision to transfer the funds.
Describing Mazlina as having made multiple errors, such as making payments different from the required amount on bank statements and not giving him monthly bank statements as requested, Ahmad Zahid said that this secretary apologized but repeated the errors well. that he repeatedly gave advice and guidance to her.
Noting that Mazlina had no accounting background and in the face of such repeated mistakes, Ahmad Zahid said: “What choice do I have but to find ways for the money in the checking account of the bank where all funds held by Yayasan Akalbudi has been placed, to be transferred to a law firm where there are accountants and also accountants and also accountants who manage the client’s account.
“Therefore, I have decided that the transfer was not made for criminal breach of trust, but to hire a law firm with officers competent in the management of the client’s account to hold the money. held by Yayasan Akalbudi in trust,” he said, insisting he did not commit CBT by ordering Affin Bank to transfer Yayasan Akalbudi’s RM17.9 million to Lewis & Co. Asked how he chose Lewis & Co out of so many law firms in Malaysia, Ahmad Zahid said he knew the two Lewis & Co. Co lawyers personally – through their friend Datuk Sashi Menon who is a lawyer. who had left his law firm to work full-time as an officer with the Home Office on the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) and Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) panels.
Ahmad Zahid insisted that the RM17.9 million still belonged to Yayasan Akalbudi after it was transferred to the Lewis & Co client’s account, and that this fund did not belong to anyone else like the law firm. lawyers or Yayasan Al-Falah where his brother Datuk Seri Mohamad Nasaee Ahmad Tarmizi is one of the administrators.
Ahmad Zahid made his first statement in 2018 to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) during its investigation into him.
On December 31, 2020, Ahmad Zahid had filed a police report regarding Mazlina’s handling of Yayasan Akalbudi’s checks, among others.
He explained yesterday why he didn’t file that police report until years later.
This police report was also the same that Ahmad Zahid said today he wrote to insist that the RM17.9 million transferred to Lewis & Co actually belonged to Yayasan Akalbudi and was held in trust by the law office. Ahmad Zahid disputed via the police report an earlier testimony from a Lewis & Co lawyer that the RM17.9 million belonged to Yayasan Al-Falah.
Earlier, the prosecution argued that the real reason why Ahmad Zahid ordered the transfer of RM17.9m was to funnel RM8.6m to help his daughter buy shares in the operator. a Bali hotel, but lawyers for Ahmad Zahid had previously argued that the share purchase deal was irrelevant and unrelated to the RM17.9 million transfer.
In this trial, Ahmad Zahid ― who is a former interior minister and currently chairman of Umno ― faces 47 charges, namely 12 counts of breach of trust in relation to funds of the Yayasan Akalbudi charitable foundation, 27 counts of money laundering and eight counts of corruption charges.
Ahmad Zahid’s trial before High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes this afternoon.