KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo accused the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) of going on a “fishing” expedition to pin criminal charges on his client Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman in his ongoing trial for criminal breach of trust (CBT) and the misappropriation of funds amounting to more than RM1 million.
During cross-examination of MACC senior enforcement officer Muhamad Khairi Muhamad Rodi, the officer could not answer what provisions under the law allowed him to confiscate a phone belonging to Bersatu’s assistant treasurer Rafiq Hakim Razali so that its contents could be extracted to implicate Syed Saddiq, who led Bersatu’s Youth wing, Armada, at the time.
He was one of six MACC officers who went to Syed Saddiq’s house on the day RM250,000 was reported missing from the residence but he did not speak to him despite being the lead officer.
Khairi said another officer spoke to Syed Saddiq and he did not know what was said between them.
Khairi, who was assigned to investigate the report of theft amounting to RM250,000 from Syed Saddiq’s home, said he sent the phone for forensics analysis specifically to obtain WhatsApp conversations from two groups “Valeuadd” and “Oceans 17”.
Khairi told the court that the messages in the two groups are being used by the prosecution, led by Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, to implicate Syed Saddiq for illegally withdrawing Armada funds from the accounts after he was stripped of his membership following his refusal to cooperate with then Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his attempts to be prime minister of Malaysia.
Gobind: En Khairi, you said the phone was confiscated under Section 30(1)(b) of the MACC Act. At the time, you were at the accused’s house on March 31, 2020. Wasn’t this case classified under the Penal Code?
Khairi: No, it was under the Act.
Gobind: Which Act and section was it under?
Khairi: It was in general.
Gobind: Can’t be in general. You must know what offences were committed. What offence was it?
Khairi: My investigation was under Section 27 of the MACC Act. There were three investigation papers open for Syed Saddiq’s case and one of them was my own investigation.
Gobind: Section 27 is about making a false statement.
Gobind: At the time, no statements were given to the MACC yet.
Khairi: That’s why the complaint was open in general under the MACC Act 2009.
Gobind: In general, means no specific section mentioned. So, at the time, you had no authority to use Section 30(1)(b) of the MACC Act. If there are no specific sections to investigate, you have no jurisdiction under that Act as that was to confiscate the handphone. This offence is based on a specific offence.
Khairi: I’m not sure.
Gobind: I put it to you that you are fishing for a case against Syed Saddiq. In fact, there is no case against him, right?
Khairi: I disagree.
Upon further questioning, Khairi said all instructions and orders in this case came from his superiors and he was following the chain of command.
He said he had gone to Syed Saddiq’s house with six others on the day of the theft and his colleague had interviewed the Muar MP, not him.
Gobind then asked how an investigating officer could have not spoken to the complainant and allowed someone else to conduct the investigation instead.
Khairi also said he did not confer with the officer who spoke to Syed Saddiq about the details of their conversation.
Gobind: I put it to you that this is an abuse of MACC powers and it is for you to try to get Syed Saddiq in this case. A complete abuse of process, agree or not?
Khairi: I disagree.
Khairi is the 23rd witness in this case.
In March 2020, Syed Saddiq lodged a police report on the theft of RM250,000 from a safe in his house although there were no signs of forced entry. It prompted an investigation from the MACC.
Two months later on July 22 he was hit with his first corruption charge. At that time still the Bersatu youth chief, Syed Saddiq was accused of abetting the party’s assistant treasurer Rafiq in committing CBT of the wing’s funds amounting to RM1 million.
He is alleged to have committed the offence at CIMB Bank Bhd, Menara CIMB KL Sentral, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, here on March 6, 2020, He is 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 to dispose of the money at Malayan Banking Berhad, Jalan Pandan 3/6A, Taman Pandan Jaya here 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.
He was later slapped with a second charge of misappropriating RM120,000 belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise in Maybank Islamic Berhad for his own use, which allegedly resulted in Rafiq disposing of the money.
The RM120,000 were apparently political contributions for the GE14 campaign raised through party activities.
The trial resumes tomorrow morning.