KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will speak to give his side of the story in the alleged embezzlement of tens of millions of ringgit in a scandal involving Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB), the charitable foundation he founded.
Bagan MP Datuk opted to testify under oath in his defense trial – which is due to start on April 26 – after being ordered to defend himself on all 47 counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) , corruption and money laundering. Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said the defendant had three options for his defense: testify under oath in the witness box and be open for cross-examination; make an unsworn statement from the dock without the possibility of cross-examination; or keep silent.
“Can the alternatives be explained to the accused? said the judge.
Ahmad Zahid briefly consulted his lawyer and replied, “My Lord, I choose option number one.”
Earlier, the judge began his brief ruling in the case with his ruling on the immunity issue raised by the defense during closing arguments.
During its submissions, the defense said that Ahmad Zahid should have been immune from prosecution for honestly disclosing all information about transactions involving YAB through two statements to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission ( MACC), pursuant to Section 30(3)(b) of the MACC. Act.
Under Article 30(7), it is stipulated that anyone who discloses information to MACC will not be prosecuted unless they make a false or misleading statement, and Ahmad Zahid’s defense argued that he should have been “vested with immunity” from prosecution. .
The court, however, rejected this.
“I find no basis for the assertion that the accused is entitled to immunity from the relevant charges,” Judge Sequerah said.
Ahmad Zahid faces 12 CBT charges under Section 409 of the Penal Code, eight corruption charges under Section 16(a)(B) of the MACC Act 2009 and 27 money laundering charges. under S4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Proceeds of Illegal Proceeds Act 2001.
“The prosecution has therefore succeeded in establishing a prima facie case in the case. I therefore call on the accused to present his defense on all counts,” he added.
Ahmad Zahid, who stood in the dock, did not react when the verdict was delivered.
His lead lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik also asked the court for more time to prepare as his client had been ordered to defend himself on all 47 charges.
Previously, the defense had been set for March 28.
“Can we suggest to my lord that the defense have more time because we need to interview witnesses, study their statements and prepare witness statements,” Hisyam said.
Hisyam said the defense would call more than 20 witnesses.
The court then accepted the April date. Oct. 22 and 26 to 29, Oct. 17 to 20 and 31 and Nov. 1 to 3, as well as Nov. 7 to 10.
Deputy Prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran led the prosecution team.
The trial, which began on November 18, 2019, saw 99 prosecution witnesses testify.
The submission hearing began on September 6, 2021 and lasted 24 days.
For the 12 CBT charges, Ahmad Zahid allegedly used the funds to make six payments for his personal credit cards, insurance policy and license for his personal vehicles, payments to a law firm and contributions to the Royal Malaysian Police Football Association.
The offenses were allegedly committed at the Affin Bank Bhd branch at Jalan Bunus off Jalan Masjid in India between January 13, 2014 and December 23, 2016.
For the eight corruption charges, Ahmad Zahid allegedly accepted bribes from three companies – Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, Data Sonic Group Bhd and Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd – as an inducement for him, in his capacity as Minister of the Interior of the time, to help businesses. to obtain MyEG projects, provide passport chips, and be appointed as a one-stop-shop operator for migrant visas in Pakistan and Nepal, respectively.
He allegedly committed the offenses at the Maybank branch of Dataran Maybank in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar between July 15, 2016 and March 15, 2018.
Ahmad Zahid also faced 27 charges of money laundering by engaging in direct transactions involving proceeds from illegal activities.
All money laundering offenses were allegedly committed at Malayan Banking Bhd, Dataran Maybank Branch, Tier 1, Tower A, No 1, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar and Marhaba Enterprise Sdn Bhd, LG 1.15, Fahrenheit88, 179, Jalan Bukit Bintang near here between March 29, 2016 and April 11, 2018.