KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the High Court here today that he advanced RM1.3 million of Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) funds to the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) Football Association (PDRM FA) because its players and staff had not received their salaries and allowances for four months.
Ahmad Zahid, 69, said prior to that, he had never extended any contributions to the PDRM FA although as the Home Minister then he had jurisdiction over PDRM.
“I was told by my son-in-law Datuk Zul Hisham Zainal that the football association was in urgent need of financial help because it had not paid salaries for four months, and players and staff could not meet their personal expenses like house rents, car (instalments), alimony and other commitments,” he added.
He said this when reading out his witness statement in his defence against 47 charges – 12 of criminal breach of trust, eight of corruption and 27 of money laundering – involving millions of ringgit belonging to YAB.
The former deputy prime minister said the advance was in line with the objective of YAB’s establishment to help ensure the welfare of those in need.
He contended that the ninth charge involving the RM1.3 million extended to the association did not amount to criminal breach of trust because YAB trustees Muhammad Nabil Salleh and Datuk Khairuddin Tarmizi never objected to the advance.
Ahmad Zahid said based on the testimony of Zul Hisham and ASP Mohd Nizam Mohd Noor, the association had to take care of 30 players including three imports, and 15 people in the management group.
“I was also told that they were full-time players who were totally dependent on the salaries they earned as footballers.
“The salaries of the players and staff averaged between RM500,000 and RM600,000 a month and when the association ran into financial problems, the salary arrears of four months were estimated at RM1.3 million,” he added.
Ahmad Zahid said the National Sports Council had paid RM1 million in cheque to Lewis & Co on July 14, 2017 as repayment for the loan he extended to the association.
Ahmad Zahid also denied the 19th charge that he committed CBT of RM10 million involving YAB funds by giving a loan to Armada Holdings Sdn Bhd.
He said the RM10 million payment to Armada Holdings was an investment with the company which was involved in an Indonesian coal supply project for TNB Fuel Services Sdn Bhd’s spot contract.
“As far as I know, as agreed, the RM10 million was given to Armada Holdings as an investment made by Yayasan Akalbudi and not a loan.
“The return on investment received had resulted in a gain for Yayasan Akalbudi, where the profit could be used for charity in line with the foundation’s objective,” he said, adding that the RM10 million invested in Armada Holdings had been repaid together with interest totalling RM69,722.65.
The Bagan Datuk MP also denied that a YAB payment of RM360,000 to TS Consultancy & Resources was to help in voter registration work, claiming that the money was to pay for printing Quran.
“The transaction was between I and Datuk Latiff Mirasa, who was chairman of Yayasan Restu which printed the Quran. I also said TS Consultancy & Resources was totally unaware of the transaction because it was Datuk Latiff who asked me to make the payment for printing the Quran to the company,” he said.
The trial before Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow. – Bernama