World

Umno chief questioned by Malaysian graft body

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission looking into allegations that $266,000 was used to pay his bills

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno president and former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was summoned by Malaysia's anti-graft body for questioning over alleged misappropriation of funds from his family-owned welfare foundation Yayasan Akal Budi.

Dr Ahmad Zahid was all smiles as he alighted from a white SUV at the lobby of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters at 9.20am yesterday, waving at the press who had been there since early morning.

He emerged some eight hours later at 5.40pm and left without speaking to reporters. He is expected to return today for more questioning, reported the New Straits Times.

Only a few Umno supporters were there in the morning probably because of Dr Ahmad Zahid's instructions for them to stay away from the MACC headquarters.

This is the third time Dr Ahmad Zahid has been summoned by the graft busters.

MACC sources said they had not finished taking the Umno president's statement on the Yayasan Akal Budi case.

He was first questioned on the Yayasan issue on July 3.

The MACC is looking into allegations that RM800,000 (S$266,000) of the funds of the foundation was used to pay off credit card bills of Mr Zahid and his wife.

The settlements were made between 2014 and 2015.

Mr Zahid has said the payment made by the charity for the credit card spending was an error made by an aide, and that he has since settled the bill.

His other meeting with the MACC was believed to be on investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Speculation has been rife that Dr Ahmad Zahid is likely to be charged today.

His daughter has denied she is also being questioned by the MACC. Ms Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid told reporters that she was at the MACC headquarters to accompany her father, who is giving a statement to the anti-graft body.

"No, I'm just here to accompany him," she said briefly, as she made her way to her car after exiting the building through a back door at 4.52pm yesterday.

MACC, however, earlier confirmed that she was also being questioned.

In a related development, MACC chief Shukri Abdull said there is no need to investigate who among its officers had leaked information on Dr Ahmad Zahid being called for questioning.

Commissioner Shukri said this after calls were made for a probe to be carried out.

This followed Umno supreme council member Lokman Noor Adam's claim that he had "friends" in the MACC who had informed him on the matter.

"There is no need to investigate this because after we served the notice to Datuk Seri Zahid, the document became public knowledge.

"We are friends with everyone, and we don't stop our people from befriending anyone.

"But they are not to leak evidence or information to the public," Mr Shukri added. - THE STAR

WORLD