KUALA LUMPUR: The decision on whether Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi(pix) would be acquitted or ordered to enter his defence on 47 criminal breach of trust (CBT), corruption and money laundering charges involving Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) funds, will be known on Jan 24.

High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah set the date after hearing submissions from the prosecution and defence at the end of the prosecution’s case.

The judge also expressed his gratitude to the prosecution and defence for their oral submissions.

“Thank you for your submissions. My decision will be on Jan 24,” he said after hearing the submissions that lasted for 24 days beginning Sept 6, 2021.

The prosecution team was led by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran while the defence's comprised lawyers Hisyam Teh Poh Teik and Hamidi Mohd Noh.

Meanwhile, Justice Sequerah fixed 18 days from March 28 to June 30 for the hearing should the court order Ahmad Zahid to enter his defence.

“Because the new year is coming and dates will be taken up, out of an abundance of caution, can we just block dates assuming the defence is called. Can we just block dates,” the judge said.

The court set March 28 to 30, April 11 to 13, April 26 to 28, May 23 to 26 and June 27 to 30 as the dates.

On March 19, the prosecution closed its case after calling 99 witnesses including Ahmad Zahid’s former special officer Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Wan Omar; legal firm Lewis & Co partner B. Muralidharan, money changer Omar Ali Abdullah and Ahmad Zahid’s former executive secretary Mejar Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly. The trial began on Nov 18, 2019.

Ahmad Zahid, 68, had pleaded not guilty to 12 CBT charges, eight counts of bribery charges and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

For the CBT charges, Ahmad Zahid was alleged to have used the funds to make six payments for his personal credit cards usage, insurance policy and licence for his personal vehicles, remittances to a law firm and contributions to the Royal Malaysia Police Football Association.

The offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank Berhad branch in Jalan Bunus off Jalan Masjid India, here, between Jan 13, 2014, and Dec 23, 2016. The charges, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, provide for a jail term of between two and 20 years, and with whipping, and fine, upon conviction.

Ahmad Zahid was also charged with eight counts of bribery, where he was alleged to have accepted bribes from three companies, namely Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, Data Sonic Group Bhd and Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd as an inducement for him, in his capacity as then Home Minister, to help the companies to obtain MyEG projects, supply passport chips and to be appointed the operator of the migrant visa one-stop centres in Pakistan and Nepal, respectively.

He was charged with committing the offences, framed under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, at the Maybank branch at Dataran Maybank in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar,here, between July 15, 2016, and March 15, 2018.

The Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament also faced 27 charges of money-laundering where he allegedly engaged in direct transactions involving income from illegal activities between March 29, 2016, and April 11, 2018.

All the offences were allegedly committed at Malayan Banking Berhad, Dataran Maybank branch, Level 1, Tower A, No. 1 Jalan Maarof, Bangsar and Marhaba Enterprise Sdn Bhd, LG 1.15, Fahrenheit88, 179 Jalan Bukit Bintang, here, between March 29, 2016 and April 11, 2018.

Ahmad Zahid also faced 40 charges at the Shah Alam Sessions Court of having accepted bribes from a company over the overseas visa system, which brought the total charges against him to 87. -Bernama