It was thought that with the proof of a cheque, the Hadi RM1.4 million payment to Clare Rewcastle-Brown had been blown wide open, until PAS claimed the bank account was fake – yet the cheque was cleared!
Unravelling lies and deception:
- Bank account genuine, belongs to Rameli Musa, chairman of KTMB
- Even up to late last night, PAS leaders have insisted not a single sen paid to Rewcastle-Brown
- Takiyuddin claimed he had documents to rebut claims of payment – there are allegedly no documents “proving Sarawak Report was not paid”, apparently to deceive Semenyih by-election voters and public
PAS information chief Nasrudin Hasan Tantawi has alleged that the Bank Islam account number on the cheque used to purportedly transfer RM1.4 million to Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown was fake.
“Some friends checked the account number which is being shared (on social media) by trying to transfer RM5 and RM1, and the account doesn’t exist,” he said on Facebook.
Nasrudin also urged others to attempt transferring funds to PAS’ authentic Bank Islam account.
His post included the hashtag “tolakakaunpalsu” (reject fake account).
Earlier today, Rewcastle-Brown claimed that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang paid her RM1.4 million to settle his defamation suit against her.
The payment was placed in escrow with Sarawak Report’s Malaysian lawyer Americk Sidhu.
Social media users have also disputed the account number, as it only has 10 digits compared to the 14 digits of a regular Bank Islam account number.
Malaysiakini‘s attempt to transfer money into the account mentioned in Sarawak Report’s website was returned with an error message, which read, “Please enter valid account number length”.
Dismissing PAS’ claim that a Bank Islam account used to transfer RM1.4 million to his client, Rewcastle-Brown, was fake, Americk Sidhu was quoted as saying: “I confirm this cheque was cleared through my clients’ account with Maybank, which means the cheque must have been genuine or the clearing bank made a huge mistake.”
Americk added that the cheque was written in front of him but declined to reveal who the account holder was.
Rewcastle-Brown has alleged that PAS, through an intermediary, paid her more than RM1.4mil for an out-of-court settlement of Hadi’s libel suit against her.
“Sarawak Report can confirm that towards the end of last year, it was approached with an offer for an out-of-court settlement by PAS through an intermediary, who is a known supporter of the party and who took part in the original decision to sue this site.
“There were extensive negotiations with the intermediary, of which Sarawak Report has a record, which were relayed to Hadi and his agents in PAS who were involved in the case.
“London solicitors Carter Ruck have confirmed they were initially engaged both by Abdul Hadi and by PAS over this case.
“Eventually, Abdul Hadi and his advisors in PAS agreed with Sarawak Report on terms that included this payment, at which point the intermediary, a lawyer, and another PAS supporter visited Sarawak Report’s Kuala Lumpur lawyer on January 24 to finalise the terms,” Rewcastle Brown said on the Sarawak Report site on Thursday (Feb 28).
Besides the cheque in the name of Americk Sidhu, Sarawak Report also published what it said was the terms of the out-of-court agreement document and a cover letter to Malayan Banking Bhd to transfer the funds to Rewcastle-Brown’s bank account in London.
Rewcastle-Brown also claimed that the PAS intermediaries had initially indicated that it wanted to pay the sum in cash, but Sarawak Report’s lawyer refused a cash payment and instead accepted a post-dated cheque for January 31.
“The recent public statements are once again misleading Malaysians into an understanding that Sarawak Report was not paid and itself backed down from defending its position, which is untrue.
“In the process, they have broken the terms of an agreement that they themselves imposed not to discuss the terms of the settlement, and therefore Sarawak Report is entitled to reveal the truth to the Malaysian public and hopes this will draw a line under the affair,” she said.
“After all, Hadi has gotten out of a case that threatened to make a fool of him and his party and should be grateful for that.”
Earlier, PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said he had documents to rebut Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s claims about an RM1.4mil settlement between Hadi and Rewcastle-Brown. Takiyuddin added that he “will reveal everything” at a press conference soon.
To which Rewcastle-Brown said there are no documents “proving Sarawak Report was not paid”.
“We believe that for political reasons, Takiyuddin is now attempting to delay his vaunted press conference to show this ‘proof’ until after a coming by-election, in order to deceive voters and the public that he will be able to bring such evidence, when he cannot,” said Sarawak Report, likely referencing tomorrow’s Semenyih polls.
“There are no documents ‘proving Sarawak Report was not paid’; on the contrary, there is copious evidence showing we were paid by agents of Abdul Hadi to allow him to withdraw his claim,” Rewcastle-Brown said.
On how Anwar came to know of the transaction, Sarawak Report said it was based on a letter from Rewcastle-Brown to Malayan Banking Bhd, confirming that she had instructed her lawyers to transfer the RM1.4 million to her Barclays Bank account in London, with the amount converted to £260,000.
“The out-of-court agreement did not oblige Sarawak Report to provide any of the remedies sought in Hadi’s claim, such as keeping silent on the subject of Umno payments to PAS or anything else, since Sarawak Report had refused to apologise for its remarks or to surrender its commitment to fair reporting in the public interest,” she added.
She also asserted that the inconsistencies in the party’s claims and statements could have landed Hadi and his witnesses in legal trouble, resulting in his premature withdrawal.
“If they continued to contradict each other in front of an English Court, someone would have committed perjury for lying in a London lawsuit (‘sharia-compliant’ lying is not recognised in the UK civil court any more than in most Muslim countries).”
Meanwhile, Rafizi Ramli decided to investigate the conflicting claims over the cheque and bank account.
In a Facebook posting this afternoon, the PKR vice-president detailed how he had cracked the case.
According to him, the 10-digit Bank Islam account number stated in a confidential letter published by Rewcastle-Brown this morning was part of a 14-digit account number.
The chartered accountant-turned-politician said he discovered the rest of the digits by making comparisons with the account numbers on other Bank Islam cheques.
With the proper account number in hand, Rafizi claimed he successfully transferred RM10 to the account.
He named the account holder as Rameli Musa, The Malaysian Insight reported.
“I transferred RM10 to the (Bank Islam) account number that was stated in the Rewcastle-Brown and Hadi settlement agreement and the account exists under the name Rameli Musa.
“The transfer also went through. This proves that the account that was noted in the agreement exists, and so too the RM1.4 million,” said Rafizi in a statement today.
Datuk Dr Rameli Musa is the chairman of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB).
It was reported that Rameli is Hadi’s old-time friend.
It was also said that he is close to Hadi’s son-in-law Zaharuddin Muhammad.
Described as a “kind man” and one who likes to “help friends who are in trouble”, he reportedly was among those who helped PKR leaders’ with their families’ finances when the politicians were detained under the Internal Security Act.
He was also said to be among those who had wished for a unity government between PAS and rival Umno since 2008.
Apparently, he had attempted to bring together former PAS leaders, who are now in Parti Amanah Negara, to negotiate with Umno leaders, but his suggestion was rebuffed.
Even as news of how Rafizi had allegedly cracked the case was breaking, PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad challenged Rewcastle-Brown to make known details such as who signed the cheque.
“Show us proof of who issued the cheque. The name of the person who issued the cheque. If that is not enough, show us the cheque number and whose signature is on the cheque,” he told The Malaysian Insight.
“It is easy to prove such allegations (are wrong). Unlike the RM90 million said to have entered our (PAS’) account.
“This is easier. All of the documents are with her, so why not show us?”
Last night, PAS president’s deputy Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said that no one will believe Anwar’s claim that Hadi paid over RM1 million to Sarawak Report to settle his civil suit against the news portal.
“These allegations are just slander,” said Ibrahim.
“All it does is to make us stronger. We can see not all the people listen nor believe these lies so it’s not a problem for us.
“We will give our full support to the relevant agencies to investigate (the claims). It’s not up to us to prove anything. Let those slandering us show proof.”