KUALA TERENGGANU, April 22 — A former Terengganu Islamic Religion and Malay Customs Council (Maidam) member and his wife pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here today to abuse of power and submitting false claims related to the distribution of zakat worth almost RM20,000, from 2019 to 2021.

Datuk Mohamad Zahari Harun, 64, and his wife, Lydia Irmawati Mahmud, 41, entered their pleas after the charges were read out separately to them before Judge Mohd Azhar Othman.

Mohamad Zahari is accused of abusing his position by participating in the decision to appoint Amcare Agency, owned by his wife, as a zakat collection agent at the fourth Maidam Zakat Committee Meeting in 2019.

He was charged with committing the offence on September 23, 2019 at the Maidam Office here.


The charge framed under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act (MACC Act) 2009, provides for a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Meanwhile, Lydia Irmawati, is facing eight charges of defrauding Maidam by submitting false information in refund claims amounting to RM19,857.21 for the 2/8 portion for the poor and needy.

The offences allegedly committed between March 20, 2020 and Sept 2021 at the Maidam Zakat Management Office here, were framed under Section 420 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment, whipping, and a fine upon conviction.


The court granted bail to Mohamad Zahari at RM7,000 and his wife at RM10,000, each with one surety.

The couple is also prohibited from contacting prosecution witnesses, ordered to surrender their international passports and report to the nearest MACC office every month until the conclusion of the case.

The court fixed re-mention and case management hearing for May 20, which will be conducted via the Zoom application.

Deputy public prosecutor Farah Yasmin Salleh conducted the prosecution, while the accused were represented by lawyer Azrul Zulkifli Stork from Azharudin & Associates. — Bernama