KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) used RM17.9mil of fixed deposit withdrawals from Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) funds to finance his daughter’s bid to buy a hotel in Bali, the High Court here was told.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said the Umno president’s daughter, Datuk Nurulhidayah, was interested “to run the hotel” and that YAB’s funds had been used for a different purpose than intended.
She was making her submission on the point of criminal breach of trust at the end of the prosecution’s case in the graft trial of Ahmad Zahid involving YAB funds on Thursday (Oct 14).
The DPP elaborated on the money trail starting with Ahmad Zahid giving specific instructions to Affin Bank to withdraw all monies from seven time deposit accounts via a letter dated June 23, 2016.
The same amount was later remitted to law firm Messrs Lewis & Co via banker’s cheques on June 28, 2016.
Two days later on June 30, the firm acted upon an instruction from Ahmad Zahid to issue a cheque for RM8.6mil to hotel operator Ri-Yaz Asset Sdn Bhd.
A partner at the law firm had testified that he was instructed by the accused to make the payment for the purpose of purchasing 60% of shares in the company from Ri-Yaz Asset’s chairman Tan Sri Rashid Manaf.
Rashid had testified to the court that he had met Nurulhidayah to discuss the proposed venture.
He had also told the court that he sought to sell off his shares because the company was facing difficulties in terms of repaying a US$24.8mil EXIM Bank loan for the purchase of the hotel in Bali.
The deal, however, did not materialise and the RM8.6mil was later transferred back to Lewis & Co and then deposited into fixed deposits in July 2016 and May 2017.
“Even if we were to accept (that) it (the hotel purchase) was a form of investment by YAB, the question is, how could this money spent on a hotel in Indonesia help the poor in Malaysia?
“We humbly submit that the accused had dishonestly misappropriated RM17.9mil of the funds from the seven fixed deposits belonging to YAB,” she said.
Raja Rozela said the purpose of YAB’s funds was specifically for the eradication of poverty and enhancement of the welfare of the poor, and to conduct studies and research relevant to the poverty eradication programme.
“In other words, the funds in YAB’s accounts were used for the personal enrichment of the accused and for the benefit of a person or persons with whom YAB has no connection or interest,” she added.
Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to YAB.
The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Monday (Oct 18).