KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today was told that the withdrawal of RM17.9 million from Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) funds by Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was, among others, to facilitate his daughter's bid to buy a boutique hotel in Bali, Indonesia.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said Ahmad Zahid's eldest daughter, Datuk Nurulhidayah, was interested to take over the shares of Ri-Yaz Asset Sdn Bhd and running the hotel in Bali.

"The interested buyer was Nurulhidayah and this was confirmed by Tan Sri Rashid Manaf (83th prosecution witness) and Datuk Seri Mohd Shaheen Shah Mohd Sidek (84th prosecution witness) who had both met Nurulhidayah and the accused to discuss the proposed venture," she said.

"According to B. Muralidharan (87th prosecution witness), he was instructed by the accused to make the payment for the purpose of purchasing 60 per cent of the company's shares from Tan Sri Rashid who was then Ri-Yaz Asset's chairman.

"Previously, Tan Sri Rashid told the court that he had sought to sell off his shares because the company was facing difficulties in terms of repayment for a US$24.8 million EXIM Bank loan for the purchase of the hotel in Bali, Indonesia," she said.

Raja Rozela said this in her submission at the end of the prosecution's case against the former deputy prime minister, who is facing 47 charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), corruption and money laundering involving the YAB funds.

She said Ahmad Zahid was entrusted with YAB funds for a specific purpose to eradicate poverty and the enhancement of the welfare of the poor and to conduct studies and research relevant to the poverty eradication programme.

"By no stretch of imagination can it be said that the usage of the funds was for the benefit of the poor, one way or the other.

"That it defies credibility for the accused to actually suggest that transferring the millions was easier than transferring to his secretary. It is our contention that the real purpose for the RM17.9 million fixed deposit withdrawals was to facilitate his daughter's bid to buy a hotel in Bali," she said.

Meanwhile, Raja Rozela said Ahmad Zahid consciously opted to utilise YAB funds to pay off his personal credit card payments and motor insurance policies and road tax and not use his own personal bank account.

"Major Mazlina Mazlan (Ahmad Zahid's former executive secretary) in her statement said the cheques were prepared upon the instruction and with the knowledge of the accused," she said.

The prosecution also rebutted the defence's claim that Major Mazlina had full control and custody of the cheque books, therefore the accused did not have access to the cheque books.

"To insist that the accused had no access to these cheque books is merely an excuse because Ahmad Zahid was Mazlina's boss. All he had to do was just ask Mazlina to show him the cheque books and credit card statements.

"Our contention is that Major Mazlina did not purposely hide the cheque books from him. There is no basis to that conclusion," she added.

Ahmad Zahid, 68, is facing 47 charges - 12 for CBT, eight for corruption, and 27 for money laundering - involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to YAB.

The hearing before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on May 18 (Monday).