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Zahid says never ordered the use of charity funds for personal matters

Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today. Photo: Bernama

Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the Kuala Lumpur High Court today that he had never instructed anyone to use Yayasan Akalbudi funds for his personal matters.

Zahid, 69, said he was in fact the one who had footed the bill for the foundation’s expenses since its establishment in 1997.

“In the early stages of its establishment, most of the Yayasan Akalbudi funds were from my contributions, my salary and savings including profits from the purchase and sale of shares for being active in the corporate world.

“This was to ensure that Yayasan Akalbudi could carry out charity programmes and provide assistance as well as contributions to individuals or parties in need and in the construction of mosques, maahad and so on,” said Zahid, who has been a Yayasan Akalbudi trustee since its formation.

He said this when reading his witness statement on the first day of the defence proceedings on 47 criminal breach of trust (CBT), corruption and money laundering charges involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds.

Zahid said after Yayasan Akalbudi’s charitable work became known to outsiders in 2013, it began to receive donations from colleagues such as Mohamed Hashim Ali, the 29th prosecution witness, Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, Halim Saad and Ahmad Johan.

“For this purpose, I would like to stress that Yayasan Akalbudi never requested for funds but only promoted to individuals and companies that they could contribute funds.

“Yayasan Akalbudi never prevented any party from contributing to the foundation,” Zahid said during the examination-in-chief by his lawyer, Ahmad Zaidi Zainal.

Zahid said he had mooted the idea of Yayasan Akalbudi during his time in the corporate world, where he served as chairman of Bank Simpanan Nasional (1994-1998) and CEO of Kretam Holding Bhd (1994-1998), Tekala Corporation Bhd (1995-1998), Ramatex Bhd (1995-1999) and Seng Hup Bhd (1996-1998).

“I also state here that Yayasan Akalbudi is an ‘amanah’ (trust) to me from my parents, and that is something I hold to until today,” he said.

The Bagan Datuk MP said the objective of establishing the foundation was to implement charitable activities for religious purposes and to help those in need, not just to focus on his parliamentary constituency.

“At that time, I earned about RM120,000 a month. I only used between RM30,000 and RM40,000 for my family and myself while the rest I used for waqf, infaq and charitable activities and religious purposes,” he said.

He added that the foundation was first named Yayasan Budi, but later changed to Yayasan Akalbudi to give it a wider meaning encompassing intellectual, research and academic purposes instead of just charitable activities.

Zahid also confirmed that the trustees had never objected to the use of funds for building mosques or maahad, orphanages, suraus and so on.

Zahid also said that his income was about RM50,000 a month during his time in the government, and that his current savings stood at around RM2 million in an account at the Bank Islam KL Sentral branch.

“As a politician and Cabinet minister, I was not allowed to be involved in the corporate world, and I was not involved as a director in a corporate company while holding positions in the government, but could still hold listed or unlisted shares,” he said in the proceedings before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

“However, the shares were held by nominee companies that I appointed, on my behalf,” he said.

Zahid faces 47 charges – 12 of CBT, eight of graft and 27 of money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

He was ordered to enter his defence on Jan 24, after the prosecution succeeded in proving a prima facie case against him.


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