KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — A trustee of charitable organisation Yayasan Akalbudi today admitted in court to having signed a statutory declaration (SD) with untrue information about the payment of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s credit card bills.
Yayasan Akalbudi’s trustee Datuk Khairuddin Tarmizi, who is also an Umno leader in Zahid’s constituency, confirmed signing on to a statutory declaration on April 20, 2017, further confirming that parts of it were factually untrue.
Khairuddin read out these parts with inaccurate information, including the fourth paragraph where he had claimed that Zahid had allegedly sometime in 2014 and 2015 given him some bills to be settled with the bank.
“I, without any other intention, was of the view that I could use the monies in the foundation to settle the bills of Datuk Seri since a major portion of the funds of the foundation was personally contributed by Datuk Seri.
“I have now realised my view was incorrect and I have requested Datuk Seri to refund the monies (totalling RM805,768.16) used to settle the bills, which monies Datuk Seri had since paid back to the foundation,” he said when reading out the fifth and sixth paragraphs.
Asked by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, Khairuddin today admitted, however, that he had not received any credit card bills from Zahid to be paid, also confirming that he had not used any cheques or funds from Yayasan Akalbudi to pay bills for Zahid.
Raja Rozela: Based on paragraph six in the statutory declaration, where you said you asked Datuk Seri to return, did you ever ask the accused or Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi to return the Yayasan Akalbudi funds that were used?
Raja Rozela: Based on the answers that YB said just now, about paragraphs 4, 5, 6, are the contents of this statutory declaration true?
Khairuddin: Not true.
Khairuddin, who is Hutan Melintang state assemblyman, has been Bagan Datuk Umno division deputy chief until today. Zahid is both the Bagan Datuk MP and Umno president.
Khairuddin is the 15th prosecution witness testifying in Zahid’s ongoing trial involving 47 allegations including on corruption as well as misappropriation of millions of ringgit from charitable organisation Yayasan Akalbudi for personal expenses.
Prior to Khairuddin’s admission of having signed a factually wrong statutory declaration, Raja Rozela had asked for Section 132 of the Evidence Act to be invoked where witnesses are told of their protection from arrests and prosecution in the event that they give incriminating answers.
High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah then told Khairuddin that he has to answer the prosecution and that the answers would not be used against him unless he gives false evidence.
Khairuddin said that this April 2017 statutory declaration was prepared by a lawyer named Muralidharan from the law firm Lewis & Co, confirming that he had not asked the lawyer to prepare the document.
Khairuddin said he had gone alone to meet the lawyer in an eatery in Bangsar, where the latter provided explanations on the content of the statutory declaration before Khairuddin signed on voluntarily and without asking any questions.
When asked why he had signed the statutory declaration despite the false information contained, Khairuddin said he had done so as Muralidharan had explained that the payments for Zahid’s credit card bills had allegedly been returned to Yayasan Akalbudi.
Khairuddin said he had not paid for the credit card bills owed by Zahid.
While Khairuddin was replying to questions, a ringtone using a Mandarin song from Zahid’s phone could be heard twice.
Later, when cross-examined by Zahid’s lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, Khairuddin agreed that the fourth to sixth paragraphs did not make sense, as Khairuddin is not the approved signatory for Yayasan Akalbudi and as he had never signed any cheques for Yayasan Akalbudi.
Khairuddin confirmed to Zaidi that he had never, as Yayasan Akalbudi trustee, objected to any payments or contributions made by the organisation, believing that all such payments were for good purposes.
Zaidi also suggested that Zahid’s former personal assistant identified only as Major Mazlina was allegedly careless by using Yayasan Akalbudi’s account to issue cheques for credit card bills, insurance and road taxes instead of using funds from Zahid’s personal account, but Khairuddin said he was unsure of such matters.
The prosecution had previously said it would prove that Zahid had misappropriated RM31 million from Yayasan Akalbudi, with a substantial portion allegedly used for personal credit card bills, road taxes and insurance policies for privately-owned vehicles.
The trial resumes tomorrow morning.