KUALA LUMPUR (June 22): An Investigating Officer (IO) had suspected that former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman was involved in the missing monies from a safe kept in his house, the High Court heard on Wednesday (June 22).
Ahmad Marzuqi Ibrahim, Assistant Superintendent with the Petaling Jaya District Police Headquarters, said this at the Muar member of parliament's trial on charges that include criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving RM1 million belonging to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's Youth wing, Armada.
Into its second day, the trial on Wednesday centred around the missing RM250,000 stolen from Syed Saddiq's safe in March 2020. Ahmad Marzuqi, the prosecution's fifth witness, was the IO on the case.
Syed Saddiq had lodged a police report on the missing monies on March 29, 2020. His father, Syed Abdul Rahman Alsagoff, had also made a police report on March 31, 2020, and stated that a portion of the money belonged to him and his wife.
In his witness statement, Ahmad Marzuqi said that after further conversation with Syed Saddiq, the parliamentarian had clarified that the missing amount was actually RM210,000.
In WhatsApp conversations revealed to the court on Tuesday (June 21), Syed Saddiq had said that of the amount, RM90,000 of the sum was his, RM70,000 his father's and RM50,000 his mother's. He also claimed that the money was for home renovation purposes.
Ahmad Marzuqi said that the initial investigations were made under Section 380 of the Penal Code concerning theft in dwellings. He elaborated that Syed Saddiq's maid Novi Dwi Anggraeni was initially arrested and detained for two weeks.
However, she was later released on May 14, 2020, as there was no evidence and proof linking her to the case. Moreover, he also confirmed that there were no traces of forced entry into the house.
His investigations then focused on Syed Saddiq, Siti Nurul Hidayah and Lim Hooi Sean, as the trio were the only ones with the password for the safe. Ahmad Marzuqi added that the safe only had traces of Syed Saddiq's fingerprints.
He stated that he had applied to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) in June 2020 for the matter to be investigated under Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 and had received approval from the chambers on the same day. He subsequently wrote to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for information but has yet to receive a reply.
"I suspected that all three of them were involved or abetted in the case of the loss of the money. I confirm that at that time, I had provided the letter to obtain information (from) BNM.
"I can also confirm that I have not received any feedback from (BNM) so far," read his witness statement.
On Tuesday, the prosecution tried to establish a link between the stolen monies and the charges that the parliamentarian faces in this trial. However, the defence had continued to question the relevancy of the missing monies to the actual four charges that Syed Saddiq faces in the trial, which relate to criminal breach of trust (CBT), misappropriation of funds and money-laundering. The charges carry jail time, fines and whipping if found guilty.
Earlier on Wednesday, the prosecution's fourth witness Wan Mohd Firdaus Wan Yusof, an MACC Officer with the forensic department who prepared the forensic report of Whatsapp conversations, also testified on WhatsApp conversations from the seized handphone of then Armada assistant treasurer Rafiq Hakim Razali.
The MACC officer testified that he used XRY software to extract and analyze the conversations. The officer who has served with MACC for eight years said he had analysed over 200 phones and for the particular group Whatsapp conversations - Value Add and Ocean 17 — he had conducted a keyword search.
Lead defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo maintained on Wednesday that the Whatsapp messages had nothing to do with the charges that Syed Saddiq faces, as it revolved around the RM250,000 stolen from Syed Saddiq's home in March 2020.
Earlier during his cross examination on Wednesday, he questioned Wan Mohd Firdaus on the specific provisions of the law used by the officer to extract the Whatsapp messages.
Gobind maintained that there were no provisions under the law for extraction of personal information in the form of Whatsapp conversations.
Wan Mohd Firdaus: Under the MACC Act, we are given the power to investigate any complaints involving bribery. The contents of the conversations that were extracted were to see if there were any such acts (of bribery).
Gobind: That is (power to investigate) but there are no provisions that allow for extraction of personal information.
Wan Mohd Firdaus: I may not be so sure of the related laws.
Gobind then referred to a few Whatsapp conversations to show that Syed Saddiq had maintained that the money was not linked to party funds. He had also asked for a letter of demand to be issued to some media which linked the missing monies to party funds.
"He was ready to sue for them to apologise and correct the report," he told the court on Wednesday.
Gobind then put it to the witness that the extractions of these WhatsApp conversations have nothing to do with the police reports made by Syed Saddiq or his father over the missing monies. Wan Mohd Firdaus denied this, adding that he was unsure of the parameters of the police investigations.
Gobind: I put it to you that the MACC was used to extract this information to fabricate a case against the accused.
Wan Mohd Firdaus: I disagree.
Syed Saddiq is charged with abetting Armada's assistant treasurer at the time — Rafiq Hakim — with committing CBT of RM1 million in funds belonging to the wing. The offence purportedly took place at CIMB Bank Bhd, Menara CIMB KL Sentral on March 6, 2020. He is charged under Section 406 of the Penal Code and if found guilty, Syed Saddiq could be jailed for up to 10 years, whipped and fined.
He is also charged under Section 403 with misusing RM120,000 in party contributions raised through a Maybank Islamic Bhd account belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise at Maybank Islamic Bhd, Taman Pandan Jaya, between April 8 and 21, 2018. For this, he could be jailed up to five years, whipped and fined, if found guilty.
In addition, he also faces two counts of engaging in money laundering activities, namely dealing in two transactions of RM50,000, believed to be proceeds of unlawful activities, via his Maybank Islamic account and his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account, at a bank in Taman Perling, Johor Bahru on June 16 and 19, 2018.
The latter two charges are 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 before Justice Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid continues on July 4.
Syed Saddiq's mum says MACC officers told her to advise her son to 'support the govt of the day' to avoid being probed