by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA
Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who established the foundation, Yayasan Akalbudi, instructed a bank officer to withdraw RM17,953,185.21 from the foundation’s fixed deposit account to be paid to Messrs Lewis & Co, the trustee of the foundation.
The High Court here heard this testimony today from Narimah Miswadi (picture), 47, an operations officer at Affin Bank (Jalan Bunus, Kuala Lumpur branch), who said Ahmad Zahid had also told her to make the payment through a banker’s cheque.
Narimah told the court that during a meeting with Ahmad Zahid on 16 June 2016 at his office in Putrajaya, he had told her that the purpose of the withdrawal was to construct a Yayasan Akalbudi building in Bagan Datuk, Perak.
Following that, Narimah had sought approval from the bank’s headquarters for the foundation to use a banker’s cheque to make the payment to Messrs Lewis & Co, and on 23 June 2016, she gave a letter from the foundation requesting for the same, to cashier Royasmin Mohd Roddy at the Jalan Bunus branch, who then completed a necessary form and a banker’s cheque for Narimah to inspect.
Narimah, the sixth prosecution witness, said this on the third 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.
Asked during cross-examination by lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal on whether Ahmad Zahid had informed her that the money was to be used to build a ‘tahfiz’ centre and mosque in Bagan Datuk, Narimah replied:
“I don’t remember. To my recollection, it was the Akalbudi building in Bagan Datuk”.
Pressed further by Ahmad Zaidi on why she did not question the rationale behind making the payment to Messrs Lewis & Co, as opposed to a developer, Narimah said:
“At the time, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid was the deputy prime minister. I could not refuse to carry out the instructions”.
She added that she was not sure if Messrs Lewis & Co served as the trustee of the foundation.
Hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.