THE High Court was told today that the Sarawak Chief Minister was the person who had the authority to decide who received money from the “Government’s Contribution Towards Approved Agencies Trust Fund” that was set up by the state government.
Sarawak’s former Director of Finance and Administration in the State Financial Secretary’s office, Abdul Kadir Zainuddin said this when cross-examined during the trial of the ‘Black Hole’ case involving the Sarawak government and state DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen at the Kuching High Court.
Abdul Kadir, the fourth prosecution witness, said this in response to a question by Chong, who asked if the state financial secretary had the authority to determine who received the funds.
Chong is representing himself in the defamation case.
Abdul Kadir also told the court that the state financial secretary was in charge of the state budget, which was tabled in state assembly.
“However, it was the Sarawak Chief Minister who had the authority to determine which were the agencies approved to receive the trust fund, according to the direction set in 2005,” he said.
He also said all the allocations for the trust fund were approved in the annual state budget.
However, the trial ended early today when Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew cited the worsening flood situation in the state.
The case involves the management of the Trust Fund that was set up in 2006. Until 2013, approximately RM11 billion of State funds have been allocated to it.
Chong has persistently questioned the whereabouts of the money in the Trust Fund resulting in the Sarawak Government filing a law suit against him for defamation.
He is being sued by the Sarawak government and State Financial Authority (SFA) for using the term ‘Black Hole’ to insinuate that RM11 billion had gone missing from the state coffers.
His allegation was published in the Rocket, Malaysiakini and Sin Chew Daily on Jan 3, 2013 as well as on leaflets distributed by Chong and the DAP.
Chong will continue to cross examine Abdul Kadir tomorrow morning.