Saturday 13 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (April 10): Muar Member of Parliament Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman had acted in accordance with his responsibilities under his former party Bersatu's constitution, the court heard on Monday (April 10).

In fact, former assistant treasurer Rafiq Hakim Razali of Armada, which is Bersatu's youth wing, and Syed Saddiq, who is accused of abetting Rafiq over criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving RM1 million of party funds, were both acting "in the best interests of the party outfit".

"Every single witness agreed that the monies can be used for the programmes that they were used for, and not one witness said, 'No, it was used for something else, for Rafiq or Syed Saddiq personally,'" Syed Saddiq's lead defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo said during oral submissions at the end of the defence's case.

He added that according to Armada’s regulations and party constitution, the party's youth wing was established to also organise activities that would achieve Bersatu's goal to safeguard people's welfare. 

"If they were doing what the law required of them, then what is the problem?" Gobind asked.

Since the start of the trial in June last year, the defence has maintained that the monies were used for party purposes, namely Covid-19 assistance, Ramadan and Hari Raya programmes.

During submissions on Monday, Gobind also added that at no time were the monies in Syed Saddiq's personal "custody or control", nor did he personally spend it.

Defence says elements of CBT charge not proven

The defence also argued that the prosecution had failed to prove elements of the CBT charge, namely that Rafiq had indeed committed CBT, and the allegations of dishonesty in the charge.

"The prosecution must prove that Rafiq has committed an offence as stated in the charge, and it is our submission that there is absolutely no evidence. Until now, we are asking what was the CBT that Rafiq committed. If there was none, then the case collapses," Gobind said.

Further, he said that elements of dishonesty in the charge cannot amount to an offence in law without evidence of CBT.

"It would appear that the prosecution has no direct evidence of dishonesty that connects to CBT, which of course we say doesn't exist," the lawyer said.

For the first charge, Syed Saddiq is charged with abetting Rafiq in committing CBT involving RM1 million of party funds in March 2020.

The charge is framed under Section 406 of the Penal Code. Syed Saddiq faces a jail term of up to 10 years, whipping and a fine.

Defence asserts again RM120,000 had nothing to do with party

As for the second charge, Syed Saddiq is charged with misusing RM120,000 of party contributions belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise (ABBE) in April 2018. ABBE is a company set up to generate income for the youth wing through merchandise sales. The sum was transferred to Syed Saddiq's personal Maybank account.

Throughout the trial, the defence has maintained that these monies from two fundraiser events were to reimburse the MP for his own personal monies spent on his election campaign in 2018.

On Monday, Gobind argued that the funds had nothing to do with the youth wing or Bersatu, and asserted that the monies belonged to Syed Saddiq.

"Rafiq in his evidence admitted that accounts for ABBE were tabled in Armada's exco meeting, but those accounts did not include the RM120,000 collected from the fundraisers.

"This was somewhat peculiar. If the monies belonged to Armada, then surely all of it would have been tabled in the meeting, for Armada would have been entitled to know the actual amount in the accounts and how these were used. It had nothing to do with Armada, and that was why it was never tabled," he said.

This charge is framed under Section 403 of the Penal Code, and Syed Saddiq faces a jail term of up to five years, whipping and a fine, if found guilty.

He also faces two charges of engaging in money laundering activities involving two transactions of RM50,000 each, which were believed to be proceeds of unlawful activities. These funds allegedly came from the RM120,000.

The 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.

Earlier, the defence also called upon their fifth witness, lawyer Asyraaf Abu Bakar Hamzah, who identified a few campaign posters he had compiled for the case.

Syed Saddiq, a former youth and sports minister, was also represented by Haijan Omar, Tiara Katrina Fuad, Lim Wei Jiet and former Malaysian Bar president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.

The case continues on Tuesday before Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid. Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin is slated to make his submissions.

Edited BySurin Murugiah
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