KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 ― Then-deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi personally signed a RM100,000 cheque in 2015 from charitable organisation Yayasan Akalbudi to a company assisting Barisan Nasional to sign up new voters, the High Court heard today.
Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, who was previously Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman at the time, said he witnessed Zahid signing the cheque for TS Consultancy & Resources.
This 2015 incident occurred when Wan Ahmad had been a special officer to the deputy prime minister. Wan Ahmad retired from the EC in November 2013.
Following his retirement from the EC, Wan Ahmad had served as special officer to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who was the deputy prime minister from January 2014, before continuing on to be the special officer of Zahid who replaced Muhyiddin until July 31, 2018.
How the company was born
“In early 2015, I was ordered by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Muhammad Yassin that was the deputy prime minister of Malaysia then to form the company TS Consultancy & Resources.
“TS Consultancy & Resources was formed to help Barisan Nasional and the government that was ruling then in the matters of registering voters in certain areas,” Wan Ahmad told the court in Zahid’s corruption trial.
On TS Consultancy & Resources’ funding, Wan Ahmad said its staff’s salaries and allowances were paid using “funds received from Umno’s headquarters”.
Wan Ahmad said decisions on the budget for TS Consultancy & Resources’ wages, allowances, management and operation costs were also decided in a meeting held at Umno headquarters.
He said the special meeting was chaired by Muhyiddin, and were attended by then Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Zahid, several other Umno leaders, Wan Ahmad himself, and key company official Sabri Said.
The RM100,000 cheque
Wan Ahmad said that TS Consultancy & Resources started facing problems in obtaining funds for the company’s management and work following the July 2015 Cabinet reshuffle, in which Muhyiddin was dropped and replaced by Zahid.
Wan Ahmad said he told Zahid of the company’s financial situation during the first official briefing on August 20, 2015 about the company’s work to Zahid as the new deputy prime minister.
“I had informed Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that TS Consultancy & Resources was facing financial limitations as the budget allocation for TS was not received from Umno headquarters as it should be and that problem was affecting the work of TS from being carried out smoothly,” he said.
“After listening to my complaint, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had called his special officer Major Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly and ordered her to prepare a cheque for RM100,000.
“I saw Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi putting down his signature on the cheque in front of me,” Wan Ahmad said.
Today, Wan Ahmad verified the RM100,000 cheque as being an Affin Bank cheque issued by Yayasan Akalbudi and deposited into TS Consultancy & Resources’ account.
Wan Ahmad said the second time that the company received funds from the deputy prime minister’s office or Zahid was in 2016, after he sent a memo to the deputy prime minister’s office to request for operating funds for the company which was again facing financial problems.
Wan Ahmad said that Zahid’s special officer Mazlina had contacted him several days after the memo to inform him that a cheque was ready for the company, adding that she passed him the cheque at his office.
Wan Ahmad verified in court today the RM260,000 Affin Bank cheque dated November 25, 2016 and issued by Yayasan Akalbudi to TS Consultancy & Resources. (A previous witness, TS Consultancy & Resources manager Jasni Majid, had testified that this cheque was deposited on December 23, 2016.)
What the RM360,000 was spent on?
Wan Ahmad said RM360,000 from the two cheques was spent solely on the operating costs for the company in the course of its voter registration work.
Wan Ahmad also said the company did not carry out any other work, besides registering eligible Malaysians as voters and briefings on elections.
Wan Ahmad is the 18th prosecution witness in Zahid’s trial, where the latter is facing 47 charges involving allegations of criminal breach of trust, receiving bribes and money-laundering.
The prosecution had previously said it will prove that Zahid had misappropriated RM31 million from Yayasan Akalbudi, with the RM31 million allegedly not spent for the benefit of the poor at all but for other expenses including credit card bills, insurance and road tax for privately-owned vehicles.
The court has previously heard that Zahid is the sole signatory of Yayasan Akalbudi, an organisation aimed at helping the poor and needy.