KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Former home minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had dishonestly misappropriated charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds to give RM1.3 million to the police’s football club in November 2015, as this cannot count as charity or eradicating poverty, the prosecution argued in the High Court today.
The prosecution was presenting arguments to show why Ahmad Zahid should be called to enter his defence against 12 criminal breach of trust charges in relation to RM31 million of Yayasan Akalbudi funds.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran today argued that Ahmad Zahid’s alleged use of funds from Yayasan Akalbudi was wrongful and with dishonest intention, as the money was not used for the foundation’s objective of eradicating poverty and enhancing the welfare of the poor.
High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah had noted that Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers had argued that the RM1.3 million cheque from Yayasan Akalbudi to the Persatuan Bola Sepak Polis Diraja Malaysia was given to alleviate salary issues faced by the players, and that the defence had argued that this was within the foundation’s objectives of eradicating poverty.
Raja Rozela however shot down such an argument by Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers, pointing out that the football club had nothing to do with helping the poor.
“This PDRM football club is a football club, it is not an NGO that runs a soup kitchen or a food bank.
“So the club belongs to PDRM, PDRM hires players to play football for them, which in turn means these players are professional players.
“Players are of course given wages, but our contention is this shortfall of money does not necessarily make one poor. You don’t get your salary for a month or two, does not make one poor, does not make one become destitute. Hence it does not fall into the category of poverty as stated or as envisaged in the Memorandum and Articles of Association, the objects of establishment of Yayasan Akalbudi,” she said, referring to the company constitution of Yayasan Akalbudi.
Previously, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh had claimed that the RM1.3 million cheque using Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds to the PDRM football association was a “donation” that is in line with the charity’s objectives of helping the poor, arguing that the cheque is to “eradicate the poverty” of this association’s football players as they had not received their salaries for some time.
In this trial, Ahmad Zahid ― who is also a former deputy prime minister and currently the Umno president ― is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.
The trial resumes tomorrow.
MORE TO COME