KUALA LUMPUR: More than RM9 million donated by a company shareholder to former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s foundation was for the “legitimate” purpose of building mosques, the High Court here was told.
Lead counsel Hisyam Teh said that Mohd Jimmy Wong Abdullah had testified in court that he donated more than RM9 million to Yayasan Akalbudi on his own accord, and it had nothing to do with MyEG Services Sdn Bhd.
Wong serves as a non-executive director in the company that was awarded a contract to manage government services related to traffic police, the national registration department and the immigration department.
Zahid was then home minister under the Barisan Nasional administration.
“He also repeatedly said he was not involved in MyEG’s operations, but the prosecution tried to link the contributions back to the company.
“During the examination-in-chief, the deputy public prosecutor did not ask Jimmy Wong questions related to corruption.
“Therefore we respectfully submit that his contribution cannot be constituted as illegal funding or breaching the anti money laundering law,” he told Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
Wong testified last year that he met Zahid in 2015, where he was asked if he wanted to contribute to building mosques in Kajang and Melaka.
Zahid is standing trial on 47 charges of money laundering and CBT involving funds from Yayasan Akalbudi, and accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as home minister.
Besides Wong, the defence said others that contributed to Yayasan Akalbudi were Cergas Murni Sdn Bhd, HRA Teguh, Ong Weng Fatt, Hwa Thong Bags Industries, Hussein Annifah, Rajan Thurairetnam, Rajan Gunaratnam, Patt Siew Ming, Mohyiddin Al-Halabi, Tarbush Al-Halabi, Al-Halabi Lounge Sdn Bhd and Mubarak Hussain. The funds were paid into a law firm, Lewis & Co’s account.
The lawyer said the prosecution failed to adduce evidence that the source of funds in 25 money laundering charges came from proceeds from unlawful activities. He faces a total of 27 money laundering charges.
Hisyam pointed out the prosecution only called a lawyer (Muralidharan Balan Pillai) to testify on the 25 charges.
“Murali gave evidence that he was acting on behalf of Yayasan Al-Falah and not Yayasan Akalbudi.
“It is clear that the accused (Zahid) has no link to Al-Falah and cannot give instructions to Murali under the law,” he said. The court previously heard that Yayasan Alfalah belonged to Zahid’s brother, Mohamad Nasaee.
The lawyer said Muralidharan’s testimony was doubtful, as he gave conflicting versions during examination-in-chief and cross examination.
“Murali said he acted under the accused’s instruction to transfer funds, which he held under the capacity of trust, into fixed deposit accounts.
“However, he also said he transferred the funds into fixed deposit accounts because it was required under the legal profession’s by-laws,” Hisyam said.
Wong told the court that the prosecution has not satisfied the ingredients to prove the element of Zahid’s mental state in allegedly committing money laundering offences.
“We affirm that the money laundering charges were not proven at a prima facie stage because we stand by our defence that the source of the funds was legitimate,” Hisyam said.
The hearing continues on Sept 13. Co-counsel Hamidi Mohd Noh told the court that Zahid had to attend Dewan Rakyat in the morning for the royal address.
Sequerah, however, wanted him in court. “Some arrangements can be made for him to come to court at 2.30pm,” the judge said.-FMT