KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today pleaded not guilty at the High Court here to 12 counts of amended criminal breach of trust charges and two more amended corruption charges involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds.
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah ordered the charges to be read to Ahmad Zahid, who is also Umno president, after allowing the prosecution’s application to amend the 14 charges.
The amendment to the CBT charges involves the inclusion of the word ‘dominion’ in charges one to 10 as well 19 and 20, while the word ‘additional’ was omitted in corruption charges 14 and 15.
According to the 12 amended charges, Ahmad Zahid, in his capacity as a Yayasan Akalbudi trustee entrusted with dominion over a property belonging to the foundation, is alleged to have committed CBT involving RM31 million belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi at the Affin Bank Berhad branch in Jalan Bunus off Jalan Masjid India here, between Jan 13, 2014, and Dec 23, 2016.
He is charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which provides for a maximum jail term of 20 years, and with whipping, and fine, upon conviction.
As for the amendments to the corruption charges, Ahmad Zahid is alleged to have accepted bribes from the director of Data Sonic Group Berhad, as an inducement in his capacity as Home Minister then, that resulted in the company being appointed to carry out the acquisition of the supply of passport chips for a period of five years.
The Bagan Datuk member of parliament is alleged to have committed the offences at the Maybank branch, Dataran Maybank in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar here on April 26, 2017.
The charges under Section 16 (a) (B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act (MACC) 2009, punishable under Section 24 (1) of the same act, provides for a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value of the bribe, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Earlier, Ahmad Zahid’s counsel, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, said the defence disagreed with the amendments as they had been notified quite late.
“We were taken by surprise and it was just conveyed to us this morning. We cannot consent with the application… At the same time, we would like to inform the court that we would like to recognise our rights under Section 162 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to recall witnesses. We leave it to the court,” he said.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran told the court that the amendments will not affect the other charges.
“There is no issue of (the charges being) prejudice (to the accused) as the amendments are minor,” she said.
Ahmad Zahid, 67, is facing 47 charges, with 12 of them involving criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit in funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
The trial continues tomorrow.