KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi generously donates with the afterlife in mind, with his donations including RM200 each to those in need such as orphans and single mothers in Bagan Datuk, Perak every year, the High Court heard today.
Mokhtar Tukol, 66, who is the chairman of the Surau An Nur Parit 25 Darat in Bagan Datuk, said this while testifying as the 15th defence witness for Zahid in the latter’s trial over Yayasan Akalbudi funds.
Mokhtar said he had known Zahid for 35 years since the latter started joining politics in Bagan Datuk. Zahid is currently in his seventh term as Bagan Datuk MP.
“Throughout the time I have known him, he is someone who is very generous to donate for good purposes. This is because, he had said to me privately that when he can afford it and has the opportunity, certainly he will donate for ‘saham beliau di akhirat’ (for his share in the afterlife),” he said.
Mokhtar said the most memorable donation by Zahid which he recalled is the building and improvement of the surau that he chairs, claiming that Zahid had fully paid the RM50,000 construction costs for the surau which was completed in 2001.
Mokhtar however said he did not have direct knowledge about this payment as it was between Zahid and the contractor Sanusi Ahmad directly.
Mokhtar claimed that he had in 2017 requested for allocations to build a tower for the surau and that Zahid had given him RM30,000 cash for the works to be carried out by Sanusi’s brother Marlin Ahmad after a quotation was obtained, adding that the tower has since been built and that the money was also used to buy a loudspeaker for the tower.
“I also can confirm that each time when the Ramadan month is nearing, he will donate RM200 each to single mothers, orphans, needy families and disabled persons in Bagan Datuk,” Mokhtar said, adding that he could confirm this as he was involved with Zahid’s other officers to handle this and that he witnessed the event held in an Umno complex with a 3,000-person capacity.
Mokhtar claimed that Zahid fully provides the estimated RM68,000 annually for such donations every Ramadan to the recipients which would involve five recipients for each category from all 68 Umno divisions in Bagan Datuk.
Mokhtar said Zahid also donates one cow to every mosque in Bagan Datuk for Hari Raya Haji each year; and that he would also donate 100 to 200 essential food packs for mosques and suraus in Bagan Datuk each Ramadan; and donate RM100 each to 1,500 participants — who are representatives of each mosque and surau in Bagan Datuk — of Al-Quran recitals during the Ramadan month each year.
Zahid’s trial before judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes on September 4, with Zahid expected to call in more defence witnesses to testify in his favour.
The other hearing dates scheduled for the trial are September 5 to 7, October 31, November 1, November 17, November 20 to 24, November 27 to 29, December 4 to 7 and December 11 to 15.
Zahid, who is also Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman, is facing 47 charges in this trial.
The 47 charges are namely, 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to over RM31 million of Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges of over RM21.25 million in alleged bribes.
The 12 counts of criminal breach of trust is in relation to the alleged misappropriation of Yayasan Akalbudi funds, namely RM1.3 million via 43 cheques for his and his wife’s credit card bills; RM107,509.55 via three cheques for vehicle insurance and road tax for 20 privately-owned vehicles; a RM1.3 million cheque to the police’s football association; a RM10 million cheque for a loan to Armada Holdings Sdn Bhd; RM360,000 via two cheques to political consultancy firm TS Consultancy & Resources; and over RM17.9 million of funds transferred from Yayasan Akalbudi to law firm Lewis & Co.
Yayasan Akalbudi was founded with the purported objectives of receiving and administering funds for the eradication of poverty and enhancing the welfare of the poor.