KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 14): UMNO president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was charged in the Sessions Court here today with an additional count of criminal breach of trust (CBT), involving RM10 million belonging to Akalbudi Foundation three years ago.
The former Deputy Prime Minister pleaded not guilty to the charge before judge Rozina Ayob.
With the additional charge, Ahmad Zahid, 65, is now faced with a total of 46 charges, comprising 11 counts of CBT, eight counts of bribery and 27 counts of money-laundering.
The additional charge against Ahmad Zahid was for allegedly, as a trustee of Akalbudi Foundation who was entrusted with RM10 million of the foundation’s funds, committed CBT by dishonestly lending it to Armada Holdings Sdn Bhd.
He was charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code with committing the offence at Affin Bank Berhad, Jalan Bunus branch, No 133, Jalan Bunus, Off Jalan Masjid India here on Dec 8, 2015 and faces an imprisonment for up to 20 years and with whipping and a fine, if found guilty.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said the prosecution would not request for an increase in bail amount and was prepared to use the bail imposed on Ahmad Zahid last Oct 19.
Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, did not object and the court maintained bail at RM2 million with one surety.
Earlier, the prosecution amended the 10 CBT charges against Ahmad Zahid by providing details for each charge and what the money was used for.
The charges were then read out again and Ahmad Zahid, who was in a long-sleeved batik shirt, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
On the first to the 10th count, Ahmad Zahid is accused of having committed criminal breach of trust of RM20,833,132.99 entrusted to him as a trustee of the Yayasan Akal Budi foundation.
He was charged with dishonestly using the funds to make six payments for his personal credit card, pay for the insurance policy and licence of his personal vehicles, send money order to a law firm, pay a consultancy firm and contribute to the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) football association.
The offences, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, were allegedly committed at the same bank between Jan 13, 2014 and Jan 11, 2016.
However, the eight charges for bribery and 27 charges for money laundering made against Ahmad Zahid last Oct 19 were not amended.
On the eight charges of bribery, he was alleged to have accepted bribes from three companies, namely Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, Data Sonic Group Berhad and Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd as an inducement for him, in his capacity as then Home Minister, to help the companies to obtain a MyEG project, supply passport chips and provide one-stop centre service in Pakistan and Nepal.
The charges were made under Section 16(a) (b) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, which provides and imprisonment for up to 20 years and fine not less than five times the amount of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty.
Ahmad Zahid is also faced with 27 charges of money-laundering by engaging in direct transactions involving income from illegal activities between 2016 and 2018.
The charges are made is under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, for which the penalty upon conviction, provided under Section 4(1) of the same act, is a maximum 15-year jail term and a fine of up to five times of the income from the illegal activities or RM5 million, whichever is higher.
The court set Feb 20, 2019 for mention.
Meanwhile, Raja Rozela also informed the court that 99 per cent of the documents in the case had been submitted to the defence, and the remaining would be handed over soon.
Hisyam confirmed it and told the court that the defence would have to study the documents before applying to transfer the case to the High Court.