KUALA LUMPUR: An Umno assemblyman told the High Court here today that he was asked to sign a statutory declaration in connection with the use of Yayasan Akalbudi (foundation) funds to pay the credit card bills of former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Hutan Melintang assemblyman and the prosecution’s 15th witness, Datuk Khairuddin Tarmizi, 55, said he was requested to sign the document by a lawyer named Murali (Muralidharan), when he met the latter at a restaurant in Bangsar on April 20, 2017.
Khairuddin, who was appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees of the foundation in 2012, said he signed the document voluntarily after Murali had explained that its contents were about the payment of Ahmad Zahid’s credit card bills with funds from the foundation, and that such funds had been returned to the foundation.
Reading from the declaration written in English about bills which he had received from Ahmad Zahid for settlement with the bank at around 2014 or 2015, Khairuddin said:
“I, without any other intention, was of the view that I could use the monies in the foundation to settle the bills of Datuk Seri since a major portion of the funds of the foundation was personally contributed by Datuk Seri.
“I have now realised my view was incorrect and I have requested Datuk Seri to refund the monies (totalling RM805,768.16) used to settle the bills, which monies Datuk Seri has since paid back to the foundation”.
Khairuddin, who is also the deputy chief of Umno’s Bagan Datuk branch, said this on the 10th day of trial in the case against Ahmad Zahid, 66, who faces 47 charges comprising criminal breach of trust, bribery and money laundering involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds totalling millions of ringgit.
However, when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, the witness said he did not receive the bills from Ahmad Zahid, as stated in the declaration.
Raja Rozela: Based on the statutory declaration, did YB (Yang Berhormat) use any cheques or funds from the foundation to pay the credit card bills for Datuk Seri (Ahmad Zahid)?
Khairuddin: Did not.
Raja Rozela: Based on the statutory declaration, did YB ever help Datuk Seri to return the money to the foundation?
Raja Rozela: Based on YB’s responses concerning three paragraphs in this statutory declaration, are the contents of this statutory declaration true?
Khairuddin: Not true.
When cross-examined by defence counsel Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, the witness acknowledged that he did not seek a second opinion from another lawyer before signing the statutory declaration.
Hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow. - Bernama