Zahid used foundation money to fund daughter’s hotel bid

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR) – Former Malaysian deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi used MYR17.9 million of fixed deposit withdrawals from Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) funds to finance his daughter’s bid to buy a hotel in Bali, the High Court was told yesterday.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said the UMNO president’s daughter, Datuk Nurulhidayah was interested “to run the hotel” and that YAB’s funds had been used for a different purpose than intended.

She was making her submission on the point of criminal breach of trust at the end of the prosecution’s case in the graft trial of Ahmad Zahid involving YAB funds yesterday.

The DPP elaborated on the money trail starting with Ahmad Zahid giving specific instructions to Affin Bank to withdraw all monies from seven time deposit accounts via a letter dated June 23, 2016.

The same amount was later remitted to law firm Messrs Lewis & Co via banker’s cheques on June 28, 2016. Two days later on June 30, the firm acted upon an instruction from Ahmad Zahid to issue a cheque for MYR8.6 million to a hotel operator.

A partner at the law firm had testified that he was instructed by the accused to make the payment for the purpose of purchasing 60 per cent of shares in the company from Ri-Yaz Asset’s chairman Tan Sri Rashid Manaf.

Rashid had testified to the court that he had met Nurulhidayah to discuss the proposed venture.

He had also told the court that he sought to sell off his shares because the company was facing difficulties in terms of repaying a USD24.8 million bank loan for the purchase of the hotel in Bali.

The deal, however, did not materialise and the MYR8.6 million was later transferred back to Lewis & Co and then deposited into fixed deposits in July 2016 and May 2017.