Zahid’s trial postponed until second Covid-19 test result ready, first round is negative

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur September 21, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur September 21, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s trial has been postponed as he is waiting for the results of his second Covid-19 test, but his first test has returned negative.

At around 3.30pm, Zahid’s lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh informed the High Court that his client had gone for Covid-19 tests at a private hospital during the lunch break for today’s trial.

“He went to KPJ Tawakkal Hospital in the afternoon when there was a break and had a test done for his health. For the court’s information, the test is negative.

“But the secondary test PCR, the result is not yet out. We are waiting for the result. We ask that today’s trial date and also tomorrow be vacated pending results of his second test. The first is already negative, we are waiting for the second,” he said in court.

Hamidi informed the High Court judge that the test results for the PCR test is expected to be available within 24 hours, noting that this would mean that the results would be out by tomorrow evening.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran then said the prosecution has no objection to the request to vacate this afternoon’s and tomorrow’s trial dates, but asked for Zahid’s legal team to give an undertaking to inform the court of the test results as soon as possible before the next trial date already scheduled for next week.

Hamidi then gave his undertaking to inform the court of the PCR test results, with High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah then saying that this afternoon and tomorrow’s trial proceedings will be vacated.

“That only leaves Monday. If tests are negative, we proceed on Monday,” the judge said when referring to the next pre-scheduled trial date.

It is understood that Zahid underwent two Covid-19 tests this afternoon during the break for lunch in his trial today, with the first test understood to be a Rapid Test Antigen test and that he had undergone a swab test for the second test.

Hamidi did not say why his client had decided to go for Covid-19 tests today, but Malay Mail’s checks of Zahid’s official Facebook page indicate that he was present in Sabah over the weekend and also on weekdays last week in conjunction with the Sabah election campaign period.

Zahid’s trial was initially scheduled to go on until this afternoon before resuming tomorrow, as well as on the dates of September 28 to September 30, with other trial dates from October until next March also previously scheduled.

The campaign period for the Sabah state election is for two weeks from September 12 to September 25, with voting day on September 26.

Last month, Zahid succeeded in having his pre-scheduled trial dates of September 23 to September 25 vacated, as he intended to go to Sabah to assist in Barisan Nasional’s election campaign on those days and as his lead defence lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik would be handling other court cases in Putrajaya on September 23 and September 24.

This morning, Zahid was present in the courtroom for his trial as his lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal spent more than two hours cross-examining the 90th prosecution witness in this trial, Major Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly.

Zahid was absent from the courtroom this afternoon when his lawyer Hamidi informed the court about the Covid-19 tests.

In this trial, Zahid ― who is also a former deputy prime minister and former home minister ― 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.

Among other things, Mazlina was today quizzed on the dates and details of cheques issued under charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s name and banked in to pay Zahid’s personal credit card bills in 2014 and 2015, as well as whether there was urgency that made it necessary for her to use a stamp containing Zahid’s signature for some of the cheques for such payments.

Mazlina said she would show the credit card statements to Zahid each time when she made the payments for him, noting that he had never asked about any irregularities in the statement.

While acknowledging that she had made clerical mistakes and overlooked certain details in relation to Zahid’s credit card payments, Mazlina disagreed with Zaidi’s suggestion that these happened each month. She also agreed about overpaying for certain credit card bills via the Yayasan Akalbudi cheques.

Mazlina also disagreed that Zahid — who is Yayasan Akalbudi’s signatory and trustee — had pre-signed a few cheques under Yayasan Akalbudi’s name to enable such cheques to be used when he is abroad.

She maintained her previous testimony that she had used a stamp containing Zahid’s signature on Yayasan Akalbudi cheques when he was not present in Malaysia to prevent late payments from disrupting the use of the credit cards, but disagreed with Zaidi’s suggestion that she had not received express approval from Zahid to use the signature stamp.

Zaidi sought to suggest that Mazlina was the one who had decided to use Yayasan Akalbudi cheques to make the credit card payments instead of Zahid, but Mazlina disagreed and said it was Zahid who had chosen to do so.

Mazlina also disagreed with Zaidi’s suggestion that Zahid had shifted control of Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds to law firm Lewis & Co as the foundation’s trustee as a result of her carelessness and oversight.

Earlier today, Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Razlan Muhammad Rafii was reported as having tested positive for Covid-19 while campaigning in Sipitang, Sabah for the upcoming Sabah elections.

Mohd Razlan’s positive test result was via the RTK (rapid test kit), and he is currently awaiting the results of a swab test under the RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) with hopes of a false positive result. Mohd Razlan is currently at a hospital in Sabah state capital Kota Kinabalu.

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