Partner denies law firm is Yayasan Akalbudi trustee

Lewis & Co had never handled files or ledgers relating to the foundation, says Premshangar


A PARTNER in Messrs Lewis & Co testified yesterday that the law firm was not a trustee of charity foundation Yayasan Akalbudi, whose chairman is former Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (picture; centre).

In Ahmad Zahid’s graft trial, V Premshangar said the firm had never handled files or ledgers relating to the foundation.

“We have never opened a file for Yayasan Akalbudi and we were never a trustee for it,” he said at the Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court yesterday.

The 86th prosecution witness also disagreed that a discussion between another partner in the firm, Muralidharan Balan Pillai, and Ahmad Zahid at the latter’s residence in Country Heights, Kajang, in April 2016 on a fixed savings account was for the foundation.

He said he was not involved in the discussion.

The witness, who read out his testimony, said he has no knowledge as to how Lewis & Co could be involved in managing funds from Ahmad Zahid as the matter was handled solely by Muralidharan, neither had he received any instructions from the accused.

Premshangar has been with Lewis & Co since 1995 and made partner in 1998.

Lewis & Co’s accountant V Sothilechmy, who is the 85th witness, previously testified that the legal firm opened an account under the name of Yayasan Al-Falah for welfare purposes.

Prior to that, the 66th prosecution witness, a lawyer and trustee of Yayasan Al-Falah, Faisalludin Mohamat Yusuff, testified that the foundation belonged to the larger Hamidi family, while Yayasan Akalbudi was for Ahmad Zahid.

Yayasan Al-Falah is chaired by Ahmad Zahid’s younger stepbrother, Mohamad Nasaee Ahmad Tarmizi.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges including 12 counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight counts of corruption and 27 counts of money laundering involving Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds.

Meanwhile, the prosecution in Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd case has filed an appeal to increase the sentence for the former PM.

The Attorney General’s Chambers appeal unit head Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar confirmed that the notice of appeal was filed last Friday through e-filing, Bernama reported.

“We (the prosecution) filed the notice of appeal against the whole sentence and fine imposed by the High Court,” he said.

Najib was found guilty of all seven charges in the RM42 million misappropriation of SRC International funds, ending over one year of court proceedings at the High Court.

He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and fined RM210 million for abuse of power involving the misappropriated funds.

KL High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali also sentenced Najib to 10 years of jail each for the three CBT offences and 10 years of jail each for the three money-laundering offences committed in the fund’s embezzlement.

Mohd Nazlan ruled that Najib will get an additional five years’ imprisonment if he fails to pay the RM210 million fine, which equals five times the sum or value of the gratification being the subject matter of the offence.

The judge ordered the jail sentences to be served concurrently and granted Najib a stay of execution pending an appeal.

Najib filed a notice of appeal against the conviction and sentence on July 30.