KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — Two Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers were accused of protecting Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin from prosecution as he was then prime minister of Malaysia.
MACC forensics department officer Nor Fadhillah Mohd Salleh and MACC investigating officer Mohd Syahmeizy Sulong were said to be acting on orders from their superiors and ignoring signs of corruption or abuse of power by other Bersatu leaders while only attacking Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman in his ongoing criminal breach of trust (CBT) and misappropriation of funds trial.
Nor Fadhillah was in charge of extracting a one-hour video from Syed Saddiq’s Facebook page and analysing its contents, while Syahmeizy was the investigating officer for the missing RM1 million that MACC alleged was withdrawn from Armada’s bank accounts illegally.
In said video, Syed Saddiq said seeking approval from Bersatu’s supreme council before withdrawing party money was never common practice, adding that Muhyiddin and other party members never followed such protocol.
During cross-examination, lead defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo asked Nor Fadhillah why she never investigated other allegations in the video when Section 25 of the MACC Act states any person who knows and fails to report an act of giving and offering of bribes is committing an offence under Section 25 (1) and (2) of the MACC Act 2009.
Gobind: When you heard the Bersatu president’s name in the video as also not following party protocol and taking large sums of money, did you report such activities or investigate them?
Nor Fadhillah: If I had the information, I would. For this case, I was asked to focus on a small section of the video and analyse it.
Gobind: It says clearly in the video that since Bersatu’s inception, no one adhered to the constitution and the party president also came up. So why was no police report made on this but one was made for my client? Is MACC protecting the PPBM president or Muhyiddin?
Nor Fadhillah: I don’t recall hearing Muhyiddin’s name being mentioned.
Gobind: With all due respect, yesterday, we mentioned Muhyiddin, and you agreed; yes or no?
Nor Fadhillah: Yes.
Gobind: With all due respect, you are an officer of the MACC and took an oath, so please don’t lie.
Nor Fadhillah said in her capacity as the forensics officer, she was only instructed to do a specific task, which she did, to which Gobind accused her of stating that an enforcement officer should look at all indications of criminal abuse and investigate them, and not just follow orders and ignore other incriminating facts during an investigation.
The second witness for the day and witness number 25 overall Syahmeizy was the investigating officer from the MACC looking into the withdrawal of RM1 million from Armada’s bank accounts that Syed Saddiq allegedly took out without permission from Bersatu’s supreme council.
He told the High Court there were five investigation papers open on Syed Saddiq. He said his investigation found that all the instructions to withdraw the money from Armada’s accounts came from Syed Saddiq and the others were acting on his instructions.
They are former party assistant treasurer and the prosecution’s star witness, Rafiq Hakim Razali; the current Kuala Lumpur Armada information chief, Muhammad Daniel Kusari; and entrepreneur Muhammad Naqib Ab Rahim as well as Abdul Hannaan Khairy who is a former exco of Bersatu’s Youth wing.
Gobind accused Syahmeizy of double standards when it came to who to prosecute as he did not take any action or bother to investigate Muhyiddin.
He said the MACC investigated Syed Saddiq but no one dared to question Muhyiddin in this case, which he said was crucial.
Gobind said the MACC was an agency under the Prime Minister’s Office and as such, there was fear of reprisal if they investigated the then prime minister and Bersatu president. He said this went against the principles of an officer who should be conducting a fair investigation, which means protecting the accused as well.
Syahmeizy told the court that he was instructed to only investigate the RM1 million by his superiors, adding that he had spoken to Bersatu finance officer Muhammad Zulhelmi Zaulkafly and party treasurer Datuk Mohd Salleh Bajuri who told him the party constitution had been broken.
Gobind asked Syahmeizy to explain why he didn’t investigate allegations that other Bersatu members including Muhyiddin also withdrew money without permission and appeared miffed when Syahmeizy said he did not even speak to Muhyiddin.
Gobind then accused the MACC of practising double standards, adding that their hands were tied as Muhyiddin was the prime minister at the time.
Syahmeizy disagreed and said he did not ask his superiors what to do with that information.
Syahmeizy: No, I didn’t because the money used by them was for Bersatu use and not personal.
Gobind: So you did investigate them?
Gobind: Sir, with all due respect, if you didn’t investigate this matter, you wouldn’t know. But your answer here is as though you did investigate them. So just to be clear: You are saying Muhyiddin used the money for party purposes? You just said it, right?
Gobind: Did you ask him?
Gobind: Then how can you confirm it?
Syahmeizy: I didn’t.
Gobind: Then your statement here is fake and a lie. Because if you didn’t investigate or speak to him, how would you know?
Syahmeizy: It was based on Syed Saddiq’s statements.
Gobind: His statement didn’t mention any expenditure by Muhyiddin. If he didn’t mention how Muhyiddin used the money, how would you know how he spent the money?
Syahmeizy: That’s my opinion.
Gobind: Your opinion, based on...? What was the money used for by Muhyiddin?
Syahmeizy: I do not know.
Gobind: Then, how can you say such things to protect Muhyiddin, under oath no less. You clearly said he did no wrong. Why did you do that?
Syahmeizy: I’m not sure. It was my opinion.
Gobind: A baseless opinion.
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.