10 Mar 2021
There were no receipts from charity foundation Yayasan Albukhary to show that it handed over cash totalling more than RM7.5 million as “donations”, a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigator told the High Court today in Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s money-laundering trial.
Instead, MACC investigator Mohd Fahmee Mohamad Nor said that the millions of ringgit in cash that were given to Bukit Bintang-based money-changer Omar Ali Abdullah and which were converted into 35 cheques was effectively to launder money that originated from dubious sources.
He told the court that the money was given by strangers or men unknown to Omar Ali.
Mohd Fahmee was testifying as the 95th prosecution witness. He was responding to questions from Zahid’s defence lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal who highlighted Omar Ali’s previous testimony in court as the 81st prosecution witness.
Among other things, Omar Ali had previously claimed that Zahid had told him that donors would contact him to pass him cash, and that Zahid had said all the donors who will contact him are from Yayasan Albukhary.
Omar Ali had also said that different unknown Malay individuals who claimed to be from Yayasan Albukhary had contacted him on different occasions, and passed him the cash in places such as hotel lobbies in Bukit Bintang. He added that it was a different person each time.
Asked by Zaidi, Mohd Fahmee confirmed that he had not recorded a statement from Yayasan Albukhary’s Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, despite the source of “donations” being said to be from the foundation.
Zaidi pointed to Mohd Fahmee’s witness statement, which claimed that Omar Ali said the cash he received were from unknown individuals and which were converted into cheques before being banked into the law firm Lewis & Co according to Zahid’s instructions.
But the defence lawyer challenged Mohd Fahmee’s witness statement and argued that it was more likely that the cash came from Yayasan Albukhary. He pointed out that Omar Ali had previously testified that the conversion of cash into cheques was his own initiative and not Zahid’s instructions.
Again, Zaidi referred to Omar Ali’s witness statement that said Zahid had only asked the money-changer to help manage the deposit of cash into the account of Yayasan Akalbudi — a foundation in which Zahid is both a trustee and director.
Zaidi: What Datuk Seri Zahid had asked Omar Ali to do, if it is true, is to help handle the depositing of cash into Yayasan Akalbudi, it was never stated ‘please help to deposit cheques into Yayasan Akalbudi’, can you agree, based on this (witness statement)?
Mohd Fahmee: Agree.
The MACC officer also confirmed that Omar Ali had not been charged in court for giving false testimony in this case.
By Ida Lim, Malay Mail, 9 March 2021
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