KUALA LUMPUR — The High Court here was told today how the wife of money changer, Omar Ali Abdullah, the individual alleged to have handled illegal money transactions on behalf of Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, was unaware of the source of the RM4,559,036 that was deposited in her company’s account.
Kamarunisah Ahmah Shah, 48, who is also Ekares Sdn Bhd director, said this during examination in chief by Deputy Public Prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffry Ong on the 22nd day of the trial of Ahmad Zahid, who is facing 47 criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering charges involving funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
Asked how the money ended up in the account of the company jointly owned with another director Abdul Majid Mohd Yusof, Kamarunisah replied: “I do not know the source of the money, my husband (Omar Ali) handled it, I only signed the cheques,” she said.
“My company currently is not running any activities, I just follow my husband’s directives,” she testified when asked by Harris Ong on the current status of her company.
Earlier, the mother of four said she had only signed blank cheques owned by her company in which the name of the recipient and the amount were not filled in.
“I was only told by my husband that if I received calls from the bank, I only have to verify the cheque payments. To whom it was paid to was beyond my control.
“I confirm that I had asked my husband if there were funds in the company accounts to issue such huge payments and my husband told me that he had deposited money into the company accounts,” she said in her witness statement.
The 69th prosecution witness also confirmed that she had no knowledge as to why payments via 16 cheques, amounting to RM4.5 million, were made to Messrs Lewis & Co, a trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi belonging to Ahmad Zahid, as all payment transactions were handled by her husband, adding that she only signed the blank cheques.
When asked by Harris Ong on what was her relationship with Ahmad Zahid, the witness went silent for two minutes before replying: “I would like to take a rest,”.
This reaction compelled Harris Ong to repeat his question several more times before Kamarunisah replied: “I only know Zahid as a politician… every year I visit his house in Kajang for Hari Raya if I am invited,” she said.
Earlier, the 65th prosecution witness, HRA Teguh Sdn Bhd advisor Lee Fook Kheun, 69, testified that the company received RM305,000 in loans from Omar Ali and repaid RM313,000 via a cheque to Lewis & Co.
“I confirm Omar Ali instructed us at Syarikat HRA Teguh Sdn Bhd to issue this cheque to Lewis & Co. He instructed this through a call from his handphone to my phone.
“The money was deposited to Lewis & Co’s bank account via a banker’s cheque on June 30, 2016 as a repayment of HRA Teguh Sdn Bhd’s loan to Omar Ali,” he said in his witness statement during examination in chief by Harris Ong.
Lee, who first knew Omar Ali when he used his services at Plaza Sungai Wang in 1986, said Omar Ali had given the company the RM305,000 loan to finance the expressway project from Machang to Kuala Krai in 2016.
He said RM88,000 was deposited in his personal account via two transactions on June 23 and 24, 2016 while the rest were received by the company in three transactions on June 23, 2016.
To another question, he said the additional RM8,000 in repayment was service charges paid by the company to Omar Ali.
Asked during cross-examination by defence counsel Hamidi Mohd Noh if he (Lee) had queried Omar Ali as to why the repayment was made to Lewis & Co, he replied: “Omar Ali told me it was a law firm and that the payment was for other clients.”
Hamidi: Do you agree that the repayment to Lewis & Co, on the instructions of Omar Ali, was not unlawful?”
Lee: I don’t know, I trusted Omar Ali as he was my friend and the money was given as a repayment of the loan he gave to (HRA Teguh Sdn Bhd).
For the 27th charge, Ahmad Zahid is accused of having committed money-laundering by instructing one Omar Ali to convert for him a cash amount of RM6,885,300.20, which is income from illegal activities, into 30 cheques that were given to Messrs Lewis & Co for the opening of Maybank fixed deposit accounts.
Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges, with 12 of them involving criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
The trial before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.