Friday 01 Mar 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 22): The High Court has set Tuesday (Aug 23) to deliver its decision on whether the defence in former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman's trial can get a hold of star witness Rafiq Hakim Razali's Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) statement.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid set the date after listening to submissions from both parties on the matter.

Earlier on Monday, Azhar ruled that the differences between the statement and testimony of Rafiq, the former assistant treasurer of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's youth wing, did not lead to serious discrepancies or material contradictions.

As such, he said there is no need for impeachment proceedings.

The defence had requested the MACC statement recorded during Rafiq's detention in 2020 as part of its bid to discredit the accuracy of his testimony.

On July 25, Azhar ruled that the prosecution must submit Rafiq's MACC statement to the court, before it decides on the next course of action with regard to the impeachment. MACC statements are generally considered privileged documents.

Following Azhar's ruling on Monday, the defence then made another application for the MACC statement.

Prosecution argues no cogent reason given to request statement

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin argued that the defence had failed to provide a cogent reason as to why it needed the document.

He added that the discrepancies originated from questions posed in court, therefore there was nothing stopping the defence from continuing with its questioning.

"Are they saying they can't cross (examine) anymore? No, they can cross.... What prevents them from continuing with their questioning without the statement?" he asked.

Defence argues that some contradiction is material to the charge

Rafiq, the prosecution's 13th witness, has yet to be released from the witness stand.

However, lead defence lawyer Gobind Singh Deo questioned how the defence can argue that there are discrepancies when the document was not available to it.

"Everyone says we can submit it but if we don't have the document, how do we do that?" he asked.

He added that one of the contradictions was that Rafiq had told the authorities during investigations that the purpose of a fundraiser was to raise money personally for Syed Saddiq's Muar campaign and not the party's youth wing, Armada.

"[This is] as opposed to what he said in court that the purpose was to collect money for Armada.

"The contradiction is whether or not [it is for] personal [use] or Armada. It is material because it strikes at the charge.

"Are we saying that the defence has no right to even see that part that is said to be contradictory that impinges on the rights of the accused?" he argued.

Rafiq is a central witness to the charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and misappropriation of RM1.12 million of Bersatu funds that Syed Saddiq faces in the trial.

For the first count, Syed Saddiq is charged under Section 406 of the Penal Code for abetting Rafiq in committing CBT involving RM1 million of funds belonging to the party in March 2020.

If found guilty, Syed Saddiq could be jailed for up to 10 years, whipped and fined.

As for the second charge, the MP is charged under Section 403 of the Penal Code with misusing RM120,000 in party contributions, raised through a Maybank Islamic Bhd account belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise (ABBE) in April 2018.

ABBE was a company set up to generate income for the party's wing through merchandise sales. Rafiq was its sole account holder.

Syed Saddiq could be jailed up to five years, whipped and fined if convicted.

In addition, he faces two charges of engaging in money laundering activities involving two transactions of RM50,000 each — money believed to be proceeds of unlawful activities — via his Maybank Islamic account and his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account on June 16 and 19, 2018.

The latter two charges were framed under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which are punishable under Section 4(1) of the same Act, with a maximum jail term of 15 years, and a fine of not less than five times the amount involved.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

Edited ByLam Jian Wyn
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