MACC officer unable to explain authority to examine Armada leader’s phone for evidence

·4-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) forensic officer Wan Mohd Firdaus Wan Yusoff could not name the legal provision that allowed him to examine the contents of Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman's colleague Rafiq Hakim Razali's mobile phone, during the former minister’s trial today.

Wan Mohd Firdaus was in charge of extracting evidence from the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Youth wing or Armada's assistant treasurer's phone being used in Syed Saddiq’s criminal breach of trust and misappropriation trial.

Defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo asked the MACC forensics department employee of eight years what law authorised him to do so.

Gobind: Can you tell us what provisions of the law gave you permission and authority to investigate someone’s private messages from their handphone?

This was followed by a long pause from Wan.

Gobind: Why the silence? None, right? You had no right to intercept nor look at these messages as they had nothing to do with today's trial.

Firdaus: The messages were extracted, not intercepted.

Gobind: Good, so you didn’t rely on interception meaning there were no provisions at all. If there was an interception and you had the right you would have mentioned it already.

Firdaus: I’m not sure.

Gobind: You can’t be unsure. March 2018 RM120,000 and RM1 million, do these WhatsApp messages have anything to do with that?

Firdaus: I’m not sure.

Gobind: You’re not sure? Just now you said there was relevance between these messages of the missing RM250,000 and the other money but now you said you’re not sure. Actually, you have no clue whether it’s related or not, correct?

Firdaus: Correct

Firdaus said he was acting on instructions from his superiors at the MACC to extract messages from WhatsApp groups named “ValueAdd” and “Oceans17”, which were read out in court today.

Gobind said none of the messages had anything to do with the charges in the trial today, to which Firdaus said he was uncertain as he did not read all the messages but only extracted them as instructed.

Gobind went on to ask if Firdaus was aware that news reports conflated the funds from the case today with Syed Saddiq’s reported theft of RM250,000 from his family home, which he said he did not.

The lawyer then pointed out to Firdaus that the police did not take action over the report, and suggested the MACC intentionally took evidence from an unrelated matter in order to build a case against Syed Saddiq.

The MACC officer disagreed.

In this trial, the former youth and sports minister was alleged to have abetted Rafiq, who was entrusted with Armada’s fund amounting to RM1 million, in committing the CBT.

The offence was allegedly committed at CIMB Bank Berhad at Menara CIMB KL Sentral, Jalan Sentral 2, here on March 6, 2020.

The charge, framed under Section 406 of the Penal Code, provides imprisonment of up to 10 years with whipping and a fine if convicted.

On the second charge, Syed Saddiq was charged with misappropriating RM120,000 belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise in Maybank Islamic Berhad for his own use, which resulted in Rafiq disposing of the money.

Syed Saddiq was charged with committing the offence at Malayan Banking Berhad, Jalan Pandan 3/6A, Taman Pandan Jaya here between April 8, 2018 and April 21, 2018.

The charge was framed under Section 403 of the Penal Code which provides imprisonment of between six months and five years, with whipping and liable to fine, if found guilty.

Prior to this, he was charged with two counts of engaging in money laundering activities, namely two transactions of RM50,000 from his Maybank Islamic Berhad account into his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account, which is believed to be proceeds of illegal activities.

He was alleged to have committed the offence at a bank in Jalan Persisiran Perling, Taman Perling here on June 16 and June 19, 2018.

The charges were framed under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 which is punishable under Section 4 (1) of the same Act, providing maximum imprisonment of 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of proceeds of illegal activities.

The case is heard before Judge Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid.

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