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Zahid’s trial: Foundation’s money never used for the poor — Prosecution

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Written by Syndicated News

KUALA LUMPUR — Nov. 18, 2019: The prosecution opened its statement on the first day of the trial to claim that not one cent from a total of RM31 million was used by Yayasan Akalbudi to help the poor, although it was a duly incorporated charitable organisation established to help the poor and needy.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is a member of the foundation’s Board of Trustees who is facing 47 charges involving bribery, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

Prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said the prosecution will also establish that Zahid had received bribery of RM17 million and RM4.25 million in gratification and had also received proceeds of RM65 million from unlawful activities.

The prosecution will show the money trail that pointed to a substantial sum being used, among others, to pay for personal credit card bills, buy insurance policies and road tax for privately-owned vehicles.

At least 20 witnesses will be called.

The prosecutor further stated that between 2016 and 2018 Zahid had allegedly received RM17 million as a reward for the award of contracts to several companies.

Zahid is also alleged to have received a further RM4.25 million from an individual as an inducement for him to help secure MyEG projects.

Earlier, Zahid failed in his bid to challenge two laws relating to the admissibility of documentary evidence.

In rejecting Zahid’s challenge, Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah described as premature since trial has yet to begin, thereby agreeing with the preliminary objection raised by prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran. 

“I find myself in agreement with the prosecution that the application to challenge the constitutionality Section 41A of the MACC Act and Section 71 of AMLA at this point of time is premature because the trial has not yet commenced.

“As such, the court allows the preliminary objection raised by the prosecution and dismisses the application by the defence. The prosecution is accordingly to commence the trial,” ruled Sequerah.

In addition he remarked that disputes over documentary evidence can be raised by the defence during the trial.

In opposing the challenge Raja Rozela considered the application as premature and an abuse of the court process as the trial had yet to begin. Instead she was of the view that the applicant can submit the application during the trial and that it would not prejudice his case.

Zahid’s lead counsel Hisyam Teh countered that the prosecution’s objection was misconceived and that the two provisions were inconsistent with Article 5 of the federal Constitution. 

“We say that this is a live issue and we will be prejudiced in the event the application is not heard and considered by the court,” he said. 

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