Under-probe Zahid admits aide dipped into charity purse, calls it ‘honest mistake’

Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi speaks to the media after recording his statement at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya, July 3, 2-18. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi speaks to the media after recording his statement at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya, July 3, 2-18. — Picture by Hari Anggara

PUTRAJAYA, July 3 — Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi played down today the use of charity funds by an officer from a welfare organisation owned by his family, to pay credit card debts that he and his wife had accrued.

Emerging from a seven-and-a-half-hour interview with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at its headquarters here at 5.20pm, Zahid, who was also formerly the home minister, said the Yayasan Akal Budi paymaster had made “an honest mistake” in using its funds instead of a cheque to pay the RM800,000 credit card bills.

“It was an honest mistake. I prepared an invoice bill to the officer to prepare the payment for the credit cards.

“But instead of issuing a cheque from my personal account, the officer mistakenly used the charity fund money instead,” he told reporters waiting outside the building where he had been summoned for questioning.

Zahid related that he had given his full cooperation to the MACC, which is investigating allegations of abuse and misappropriation of funds from his family-owned welfare foundation.

“However, I would like to make it clear that I’ve used my personal money and paid back all the money mistakenly used from the foundation without following SOP,” he added.

Zahid said he wanted to clarify the situation, asserting that he is the biggest donor to Yayasan Akal Budi.

“I hope this clears the air and closes the door on any negative perception, especially now that I’ve won the Umno presidential election.

“I’m in fact the biggest donor to this charity foundation owned by my family, which runs religious schools and welfare homes,” he said.

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