Zahid accuses the secretary of using a signature stamp on charity checks for credit card bills; says he would have fired her if he had known

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured leaving the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on May 22, 2022. — Photo by Devan Manuel

By Ida Lim

Monday, May 23, 2022 2:15 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 – Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today asked the High Court to reprimand his former executive secretary for the alleged misuse of funds from Yayasan Akalbudi – where he was a trustee and later its sole signatory – at unrelated purposes such as paying his and his wife’s credit card bills.

Testifying in his own trial over the alleged embezzlement of millions of ringgits from the Yayasan Akalbudi charitable foundation, Ahmad Zahid accused Major Mazlina [email protected] of abusing a stamp for his signature intended for Hari appreciation cards and certificates Raya – on Yayasan Akalbudi’s checks for unauthorized use.

While working as Executive Secretary from December 2011 to May 2018, Mazlina was responsible for handling both Ahmad Zahid’s personal checks and Yayasan Akalbudi’s checks while Ahmad Zahid served as Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmad Zahid saying today that she was also in charge of managing a stamp with her signature.

But Ahmad Zahid pointed out that the signature stamp was only used for certificates of appreciation and birthday cards, insisting that he never gave Mazlina permission to use this signature stamp for any other purpose, such as for his personal checks or Yayasan Akalbudi checks.

Ahmad said certificates of appreciation could even run into the hundreds or thousands, such as for officials working in agencies under the Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of Defense he previously headed, noting that the signature stamp would also be used for Hari Raya cards which could go into the tens of thousands instead of him physically signing them.

Ahmad Zahid claimed that Mazlina decided on her own to use her signature stamp on checks without seeking her approval first, accusing her of deciding on her own to do so when paying her bills. credit card bills.

“I emphasize that I have never given any approval, especially verbally, directly or indirectly, to Mazlina to use the signature chop for any purpose other than signing invitation cards and cards Hari Raya, festive cards and certificates of appreciation,” he said.

Regarding the checks he signed in advance, Ahmad Zahid said he had practiced this before Mazlina became his executive secretary, and said that these “pre-signed” checks were specifically for payments of urgent bills by Yayasan Akalbudi to construction contractors when out or away. abroad.

“Because there are many developments made by Yayasan Akalbudi, especially orphanages, mosques, suraus, maahad tahfiz and others that require Yayasan Akalbudi to contribute according to the demands made, so payments to contractors or contribution recipients had to be expedited, I wouldn’t be able to sign when I’m overseas, so I signed the checks first,” he explained.

“I had no idea that there were checks using the signature stamp and that pre-signed checks were used by Mazlina from 2013 to 2016. If at some point I knew, I would have terminated Mazlina because she misused Yayasan Akalbudi’s checks,” he told the high court.

“Specifically, I had never authorized Mazlina to use the signature stamp and/or pre-signed checks for the purposes of paying my personal credit cards and/or the insurance policies of the vehicles I owned and for my additional cardholders,” he added.

Ahmad Zahid accused Mazlina of being reckless or “negligent” in handling his and Yayasan Akalbudi’s finances, including using his signature stamp on Yayasan Akalbudi’s checks to pay his bills. credit card bills and those of his wife, allegedly without his knowledge, and failing to understand credit card statements and overpaying or underpaying bills repeatedly.

Other reasons he said Mazlina was negligent were the alleged use of his pre-signed checks for Yayasan Akalbudi for purposes other than the charitable foundation’s charitable works, which he allegedly failed to understand. that he and Yayasan Akalbudi are two separate entities.

Claiming that Mazlina failed to show him the monthly bank statements of his bank account and Yayasan Akalbudi’s bank account, Ahmad Zahid said this also showed his alleged negligence.

Claiming that he had asked Mazlina to show the monthly bank statements on several occasions but that this had not been done, Ahmad Zahid suggested that Mazlina could have taken advantage of his busy schedule as a minister before to avoid show such documents.

“When I asked, she said she will give, and then she will go from my office to her office, I waited, she did not come. After that, there are other appointments. you and other meetings, she buat-buat (pretend) every time I asked her, every time she gave me all kinds of excuses.

“My schedule is very busy, I always skip my lunch, my only break is for my floor, prayers and also in the toilets. Apart from that, I want to say that my schedule is 365 (days), 24/7, and I feel guilty towards my family because I don’t have much time for them.

“So with such a tight schedule, although I manage my time management, but I prioritized ministerial duties and the nation as a priority, because of this turmoil, it could have caused Mazlina to seize the opportunity not to respond to my requests by showing the bank account statement or stating the balance of my account and Yayasan’s account,” he said.

In this trial, Ahmad Zahid ― who is a former interior minister and currently chairman of Umno ― faces 47 charges, namely 12 counts of breach of trust in relation to funds of the Yayasan Akalbudi charitable foundation, 27 counts of money laundering and eight counts of corruption charges.