The High Court today was told that Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was involved in the withdrawal of RM17.9 million from Yayasan Akalbudi funds for the purchase of shares as well as to be placed as fixed deposits.While showing the flow chart of the withdrawal to the court, MACC investigating officer Muhammad Fazli Zulkifli explained that of the amount, RM8.6 million was paid to Ri-Yaz Assets Sdn Bhd as a deposit for a share purchase with another RM9.3 million to be placed as fixed deposits.“The withdrawal of money from Yayasan Akalbudi’s Affin Bank account to be transferred to a Maybank account belonging to Messrs Lewis & Co (the foundation’s trustee) was instructed by Zahid,” Fazli said when reading his witness statement during the examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi.He said this on the 47th day of the trial of Zahid, who is facing corruption, abuse of power, and money laundering charges involving millions of ringgit in funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.The 93rd prosecution witness said that RM8.6 million was paid to Ri-Yaz Assets as a deposit for the purchase of 60 percent of the company’s shares owned by Rashid Abdul Manaf. The purchase was said to be by Zahid’s daughter, Nurul Hidayah Ahmad Zahid. “The RM8.6 million payment was made through the law firm, Messrs Lewis & Co, to Ri-Yazz Assets after discussions between Zahid, Nurul Hidayah, Mohammad Shaheen Shah Mohd Sidek (director of Ri-Yaz Assets), Mat Noor Nawi (chairperson of Exim Bank), and Norzilah Mohamad (CEO of Exim Bank).“Nurul Hidayah was interested in acquiring Rashid’s 60 percent stake in Ri-Yaz Assets and had asked Exim Bank to restructure the company’s loan with Exim Bank, to extend the loan period, and to remove Rashid’s name as guarantor by replacing it with her (Nurul Hidayah's) name,” he said.He said that his investigations found that Ri-Yaz Assets had paid its arrears amounting to RM8.3 million to Exim Bank using money obtained from Lewis & Co to settle the company’s loan it had taken to purchase a hotel in Bali, Indonesia.“There was a surplus due to the difference in the exchange rate of RM to USD at that time amounting to RM254,879.10. The money was returned to the law firm via cheque,” he said.Fazli said his investigations also found that Nurul Hidayah was appointed as the director of Ri-yaz Assets Sdn Bhd on Jan 27, 2017 to replace Rashid, who resigned as director on the same date. He said Nurul Hidayah then resigned as a director of the company on Jan 31, 2017. However, both parties, namely, Rashid and Nurulhidayah, did not proceed with the share sale and purchase agreement.“After the discontinuation of the share sale and purchase agreement, Nurul Hidayah and Zahid requested that the money amounting to RM8.3 million be returned to Lewis & Co because it is the money of Yayasan Akalbudi,” he said.The witness also said that his investigations found that Nurul Hidayah did not have any position in Yayasan Akalbudi.“At that time, Nurul Hidayah was working as marketing director with Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB),” he said when answering additional questions during the examination-in-chief by Sazilee.Zahid faces 47 charges, 12 of them for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption, and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.The trial before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Monday.- Bernama
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