Yesterday, it came to the attention of the High Court that former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his wife had used Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds to pay off credit card bills.
Yayasan Akalbudi is a charity foundation that was set up to eradicate poverty, yet not a single cent went to those in need.
Instead, the fund was used to settle bills racked up from a shopping spree at luxury stores such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and other big names.
As reported by NST, based on Zahid’s credit card statements, the total amount used to pay for his AmBank cards amounted to RM534,412.52 in 2014, RM708,134.47 in 2015 and RM54,168.99 for just one month in January 2016.
The other payments included RM30,771.19 (between Feb and Oct 2014), RM3,914.84 (March 2015) and another RM30,635.80 (July 2015) for his Maybank cards.
Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, lead prosecutor in Zahid’s corruption trial, said that these spending habits may not be an issue in their case.
Yet, “one cannot help but wonder if they had the poor folks in Malaysia on their mind as they went on shopping sprees,” she said.
“We very much doubt that.”
Zahid currently faces 47 charges of Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT), corruption and money laundering involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds. He faces a maximum of 20-years jail and fine if convicted.
According to the Deputy Public Prosecutor, Zahid also used the fund to purchase motor insurance policies and road tax of 20 privately owned vehicles, payment to a consultancy company, a police football club and a loan to a company supplying coal fuel to Tenaga Nasional Bhd.
She said that none of the vehicles were bought for the foundation and belonged to the accused and his wife, Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis.
“Gifting or lending money to a businessman, a football team and a political consultancy firm can hardly be counted as charity to eradicate poverty.
“It goes without saying that the credit card payments only benefited the accused and his wife,” said the prosecutor.