KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 – Former Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today that he did not commit a criminal breach of trust (CBT) when he gave 1.3 million of RM of funds from Yayasan Akalbudi as a cash advance to the Police Football Association.
Ahmad Zahid argued that this was because his advance of these funds to the police football association was in line with the aims of the Yayasan Akalbudi charity fund to help the needy.
Testifying in his own defense at his trial for allegedly committing a criminal breach of trust over the RM31 million of Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds entrusted to him, Ahmad Zahid sought to justify channeling the money from the social organization towards Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) football. fellowship in 2015.
Ahmad Zahid explained that he had never made contributions to the PDRM football association before, but noted that the police were his responsibility when he was interior minister and he knew then that the he football association itself paid the monthly salaries and allowances of its players and staff.
Ahmad Zahid said his son-in-law Datuk Zul Hisham Zainal told him that this football association was in financial difficulty as four months of unpaid wages had prevented football players and staff from paying their personal expenses such as house rental. , car and other needs.
Ahmad Zahid said he was also told that association players who are entirely dependent on the earnings received as full-time footballers, and he also believed the well-being of those players’ families would be affected. because their wages had not been paid for four months. .
Ahmad Zahid said that the total salary of players and staff in the football association averaged around RM500,000-600,000 per month, and the unpaid salary for four months was around 1.3 million RM.
(Previously, Zul Hisham told the court that it takes about RM500,000-600,000 every month to pay the 30 football players and 15 executives of the PDRM Football Association).
“Therefore, I had advanced RM1.3m to the PDRM Football Association to help them cover these needs and their welfare,” Ahmad Zahid told the High Court today.
Ahmad Zahid verified a Yayasan Akalbudi check dated November 19, 2015 for RM1.3 million issued to the PDRM football association.
“I believe that this cash advance is in line with the training objectives of Yayasan Akalbudi, where this Yayasan has been created generally to assist in terms of welfare to those in need,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid said that two other administrators of Yayasan Akalbudi – Muhammad Nabil Salleh and Datuk Khairuddin Tarmizi – were also aware of this matter, saying: “I stress that both of them never objected to this advance because it is in accordance with Yayasan’s goal.” Ahmad Zahid cited his son-in-law Zul Hisham’s previous testimony in this trial as the 19th prosecution witness, who allegedly testified that the National Sports Council had refunded the cash advance when he had handed over a check for RM 1 million to law firm Lewis & Co on July 14, 2017.
Zul Hisham had previously agreed that the remaining RM300,000 of funds donated to the PDRM football association was a form of contribution to the needy.
Earlier, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer, Hamidi Mohd Noh, argued that the payment of RM1.3 million from Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds to the football association PDRM was not a criminal breach of trust, claiming that This was a “donation” permitted by the constitution of Yayasan Akalbudi’s society as he maintained. was to “eradicate the poverty” of footballers.
The lawyer had previously argued that such a “donation” is permitted because of the objectives of the Yayasan Akalbudi society’s constitution to help the poor containing this phrase: “to receive and administer funds for the eradication of poverty and to improve the welfare of the poor and to conduct research for poverty eradication programs and for that purpose”.
In this trial, Ahmad Zahid ― who is also a former deputy prime minister and currently chairman of Umno ― faces 47 counts, 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.
For the 12 counts of the CBT, Ahmad Zahid is accused of having embezzled more than RM31 million from the funds of Yayasan Akalbudi, of which he was entrusted as a trustee of the foundation and of which he was also more later the only signatory for his checks.
The 12 CBT charges relate to the use of Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, namely RM1.3 million via 43 checks for Ahmad Zahid and his wife’s credit card bills, RM107,509.55 via three checks for vehicle insurance and road tax for 20 private vehicles, a check for RM1.3 million to the police football association, a check for RM10 million for a loan to Armada Holdings Sdn Bhd, RM360,000 via two checks to political consultancy firm TS Consultancy & Resources, and more than RM17.9 million in funds transferred from Yayasan Akalbudi to law firm Lewis & Co.
Ahmad Zahid also today argued that the sum of RM10 million in December 2015 to Armada Holdings Sdn Bhd was an ‘investment’ by Yayasan Akalbudi and insisted that it was not a loan, claiming to have been informed by Armada Holdings director Datuk Wasi Khan @Wasiyu Zama Israr that the money would be placed in a fixed deposit and the RM10 million would be returned to Yayasan Akalbudi with a corresponding “return on investment” fixed deposit interest rates.
Ahmad Zahid said his close acquaintance Datuk Seri Khalid Mohamad Jiwa introduced him to Wasi Khan and was told that Armada Holdings needed paid-up capital of RM10 million to meet the minimum requirements to bid for a coal supply project.
Ahmad Zahid insisted that the RM10 million was not a loan but an investment as the money was put into paid up capital and returned to Yayasan Akalbudi when the ‘investment’ was not successful as Armada Holdings had later won the contract.
“Therefore, the money as paid-up capital which was used as an investment was returned with the sum following the fixed deposit industry rates,” he said, adding that Yayasan Akalbudi did not suffer. only one sense of loss on this alleged investment but had instead made a profit which could be used for charity.
Yayasan Akalbudi eventually received the RM10 million from Armada Holdings with interest of RM69,722.65 in February 2016.
Lawyers for Ahmad Zahid previously sought to explain his payment of RM10m by using Yayasan Akalbudi’s check to Armada Holdings as both a loan and an investment for the charitable foundation, as the company had repaid the 10m of RM with interest, but the prosecution had said that this company ended up doing not align with the charity’s goals of eradicating poverty.
Ahmad Zahid’s trial before High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes tomorrow.