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Deputy MD of Datasonic Group Berhad Chew Ben Ben at the KL High Court today. - NSTP/EIZAIRI SHAMSUDIN
Deputy MD of Datasonic Group Berhad Chew Ben Ben at the KL High Court today. - NSTP/EIZAIRI SHAMSUDIN

KUALA LUMPUR: A deputy managing director of Datasonic Group Berhad (DGB) told the High Court here today that he would not have recommended RM6 million in political funds to Barisan Nasional (BN) if Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was not the Deputy Prime Minister and the Home Minister then.

Chew Ben Ben, 63, said he suggested the amount to former DGB chief executive officer Datuk Abu Hanifah Noordin as a long-term contribution to BN through Ahmad Zahid.

Chew, who is the 34th prosecution witness, said he met the then deputy prime minister at the latter’s official residence at Seri Satria Putrajaya in April 2017, where Ahmad Zahid told him about his profession before entering into politics.

"Ahmad Zahid also told me that he was impressed with DGB because of its performance, and also said that the general election was approaching and on the political situation in the country then,” he said when reading out his witness statement during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Gan Peng Kun.

Chew was testifying on the 17th day of Ahmad Zahid’s corruption trial involving millions of ringgit in Yayasan Akalbudi funds and passport chip supply contracts with several companies.

Chew, who is also a member of the DGB board of directors, said when he met Ahmad Zahid that day, the then deputy prime minister also told him that he was meeting (then prime minister) Datuk Seri Najib Razak to discuss the coming election.

“What came to my mind then was that BN needed money for the election. I then asked Ahmad Zahid whether Datuk Hanifah and I could provide political funds to BN and how much was needed.

“Ahmad Zahid said it was up to me how much I wanted to give to BN,” he said, adding that Ahmad Zahid then told me to prepare a cheque for Lewis & Co, the trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi, which is owned by Ahmad Zahid.

“I suggested that Hanifah used his own money because withdrawal from DGB’s account required approval from the board of directors,” he added.

Chew told the court that DGB had six subsidiaries, namely Datasonic Technologies Sdn Bhd, Datasonic Corporation Sdn Bhd, Datasonic Smart Solutions Sdn Bhd, Datasonic Innovation Sdn Bhd, Datasonic Manufacturing Sdn Bhd and Datasonic Digital Sdn Bhd.

Questioned by counsel Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, Chew agreed with him that the political fund was for corporate social responsibility and charity.

"I know," he said Ahmad Zaidi put to him that the RM6 million paid to Lewis & Co for Yayasan Akalbudi was for welfare work.

Ahmad Zahid, 67, is facing 47 charges, with 12 of them for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

The trial is before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah. -- BERNAMA

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