KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia was not notified of the RM1mil withdrawn by its Angkatan Bersatu Anak Muda (Armada) wing, the High Court has heard.
The party never received any application from Armada regarding the withdrawal of the money, said Bersatu’s finance officer 1, Muhammad Zulhelmi Zaulkafly, 30, Bernama reported.
The 20th prosecution witness said this during the examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Shahrom Idris at the trial of Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who faces four charges related to criminal breach of trust and money laundering.
Asked by Mohd Shahrom whether he knew about the withdrawal of RM1mil from Armada, Muhammad Zulhelmi replied, “I don’t know”.
Muhammad Zulhelmi, who regulates, administers and manages the party’s financial affairs, said that according to Clause 24 of the Bersatu constitution, expenditures in excess of RM500,000 must be approved by the party’s supreme council, and if there is a withdrawal, it must be recorded to check the balance in the account.
To a question from DPP Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, the witness said that the trustees for the Armada account were Syed Saddiq, who was then the Armada chief; Ahmad Redzuan Mohamed Shafi, who was then the Armada assistant secretary; and Rafiq Hakim Razali, who was the Armada assistant treasurer at the time.
In his earlier testimony, Rafiq Hakim told the court that the withdrawal of RM1mil, on Syed Saddiq’s instructions, did not follow procedure and it was wrong as no paperwork was submitted to enable the money to be withdrawn from the bank on March 6, 2020.
Syed Saddiq, 29, was charged as the then Armada chief – entrusted with control of Armada funds – with abetting Rafiq Hakim with criminal breach of trust of RM1mil in funds belonging to the wing.
He was also charged with misusing property for himself, namely RM120,000 from the Maybank Islamic Bhd account belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise, by causing Rafiq Hakim to dispose of the money between April 8 and 21, 2018.
He also faces two counts of engaging in money laundering activities, namely two transactions of RM50,000, believed to be proceeds of unlawful activities, from his Maybank Islamic Bhd account into his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account, on June 16 and 19, 2018.
The trial before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid continues today.
Separately, the High Court rejected Syed Saddiq’s application to impeach the testimony of Rafiq Hakim, following discrepancies in the latter’s witness statement and his oral testimony in court.
JC Azhar Abdul said Rafiq Hakim’s statement, which was not tendered in court, cannot be used to impeach the credibility of the witness.On July 7, counsel Gobind Singh Deo, who represented Syed Saddiq, said the court could use its discretion to allow the defence to start proceedings to challenge Rafiq Hakim’s credibility because the document referred to, namely the witness statement, was not tendered in court by the prosecution.
However, Wan Shaharuddin said if the defence wished to challenge the credibility of the witness, the latter’s witness statement would have to be tendered in court.
Bernama reported that after JC Azhar delivered his decision, Gobind told the court they were seeking a fresh bid to obtain Rafiq Hakim’s statements that were recorded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2020 during its investigation.
Wan Shaharuddin, however, objected as there was no longer a need to challenge the credibility of Rafiq Hakim as he had admitted that there was a little discrepancy between his oral testimony in court and his written witness statement.
JC Azhar then set Friday for the prosecution and defence to make further submissions before he gives his decision.