KUALA LUMPUR — July 3, 2020: A witness today related that his company paid over RM1 million to law firm Lewis & Co. linked to the trial of former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi.
According to Paul Latimer, the payment through three cheques was to settle the problems Cergas Murni Sdn. Bhd. had with gangsters.
The company had a project to build a bridge in Klang in 2016 and gangsters had asked for protection money.
It was then suggested by money changer Omar Ali Abdullah that the company issued blank cheques without naming the recipient. Omar was to then cash the cheques.
Latimer said his late boss Mohd. Shariff Yaakub and director Khatijah Suleiman signed the cheques. Shariff also knew Omar but the company did not have any dealings with the law firm Lewis & Co.
He replied to Zahid’s lawyer, Rosal Azimin Ahmad, that Zahid was not involved in the issuance of the cheques.
Another witness, Hashim Othman, said his company, HRA Teguh Sdn. Bhd., received RM217,000 from Omar as a “friendly loan” from the money changer. HRA Teguh, a construction company, later repaid RM313,000 to Lewis & Co.
He agreed with Rosal’s suggestion that the loan from Omar and the repayment did not breach any law.
Zahid is facing 47 charges relating to criminal breach of trust, bribery and money laundering involving his family-run Yayasan Akalbudi.
The hearing before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on July 14.