Former Malaysia DPM Zahid to be questioned by Malaysian anti-graft agency

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PUTRAJAYA - Graft investigators are expected to question Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) over claims he used funds belonging to Yayasan Akal Budi when they haul him up for the third time tomorrow.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) sources said they had not completed questioning the Umno president and former deputy prime minister on the case.

They said Dr Ahmad Zahid had only been questioned on the Yayasan issue on July 3. His first meeting with the MACC the day earlier was believed to be on investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

“We will be speaking to him on this (Yayasan Akal Budi) matter,” a source told The Star yesterday.

The Umno president is expected to face MACC charges in regard to the alleged misappropriation of a foundation’s funds.An MACC source was also quoted by an online portal as saying that Dr Ahmad Zahid was likely to be charged on Thursday. If this is true, it will mean spending the night at the MACC headquarters.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull confirmed that a notice had been sent to Dr Ahmad Zahid requiring his presence at the commission’s headquarters at 10am.

Zahid however tweeted yesterday that MACC would only be recording his statement and advised his supporters against holding a gathering in front of MACC headquarters.

He was responding to a message purportedly issued by Pemantau Malay­sia Baru president and Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam that was circulated, informing party members to be present there in a show of support for Dr Ahmad Zahid.

“I hope that there is no demonstration on Wednesday in front of the MACC headquarters.

“I will give my statement. Full cooperation will be given to the MACC,’ he said.

When contacted later, Dr Ahmad Zahid pledged to give his full cooperation to the investigators.

“I will be present at the (MACC) office and give my statement. There is no need to conduct any gathering there,” he said.

The solidarity call to Umno members was later rescinded.

Dr Ahmad Zahid is the chairman of Yayasan Akal Budi, a foundation he set up for Islamic charity with personal donations from him and close friends.

According to reports, he had been asked to explain claims that RM800,000 (S$266,186) in foundation funds were used to pay off credit card bills belonging to him and his wife.

Dr Ahmad Zahid was quoted as saying that he had repaid all the money belonging to a foundation that was used to pay off his credit card bills and that of his wife.

He said the payment was made in 2016, and he later found out that his officer had mistakenly used a cheque belonging to the foundation.

“I received the credit card bills and passed them to my officer to make payment. But he made a mistake by using money from the foundation. When I realised this, I repaid the amount in full with my own,” he said, adding all the necessary documents, as well as a photocopy of the cheque for the repayment, were given to MACC officers.

Records showed that the foundation was registered in 1997 and its role is to receive and administer funds to eradicate poverty.

It was also reported that Dr Ahmad Zahid was questioned by MACC of his Aug 22, 2015, meeting with a member of the Saudi royal family.

He said he met the individual who allegedly donated US$700 million (S$968.4 million) that was channelled into former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s personal account.

Dr Ahmad Zahid declined to identify the Saudi royalty whom he met, saying that he would only answer to the MACC.


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