An offence would only have been committed if the money was spent without prior approval.
No rules or laws in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) party constitution were broken over the withdrawal of RM1 million from Angkatan Bersatu Anak Muda’s (Armada) account, a witness in Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman’s trial said today.
During cross examination by Syed Saddiq’s counsel Gobind Singh Deo, former Armada assistant secretary Ahmad Redzuan Mohamed Shafi said withdrawing the money was not an offence, and that an offence would only have been committed if the money was spent without prior approval.
Ahmad Redzuan in his witness statement said there were provisions in the party constitution that state any expenditure above RM500,000 cannot be made without approval and permission from the party’s supreme council and the party treasurer can only keep up to RM50,000 at any given time.
Ahmad Redzuan said according to Clause 24, the party’s treasurer-general is only allowed to hold cash not exceeding RM50,000 at a time and the money must be kept in a safe place in a Registered Office for the party’s petty expenses.
He said expenditure in excess of RM500,000 at any one time is not allowed without the prior permission of the council.
In this case, Syed Saddiq is accused of taking upwards of RM1 million belonging to Bersatu after he quit the party following the Sheraton Move in February 2020.
Gobind: So, you took the money out without permission? Is that the only problem you have with these provisions?
Ahmad Redzuan: Yes.
Gobind: So, if you did not know about these provisions, there wouldn’t be a problem. This is your evidence?
Ahmad Redzuan: Yes
Gobind: Look at the provisions in 24/8. It doesn’t stop withdrawal — it stops expenditure — and it refers to one-off payments of more than RM500,000.
Ahmad Redzuan: Correct.
Gobind: Then in this case there is no one-off payment for anything, so no laws were broken here. There is a difference for spending and expenditure and the RM1 million was not used so there is no offence correct?
Ahmad Redzuan: Yes, correct.
Ahmad Redzuan told the court he was instructed to take the money out as Syed Saddiq said the money in the bank was the result of his hard work during his time in Bersatu and Armada.
He told the High Court that he was instructed to withdraw all the money at once.
Gobind disputed this. He questioned Ahmad Redzuan as to the exact words said to him on the day, but he could not recall the exact words used.
Pressed further on who wrote his witness statement, Ahmad Redzuan revealed it was done by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) when they took his statement at Putrajaya.
He said he did not make notes of the discussions with Syed Saddiq nor did he lodge a police report against Syed Saddiq even though he knew the request may have been against the law.
“Can you recall what were the exact words used when Saddiq asked you to withdraw the money? I need specific words from you. If you can’t recall, then I put it to you that there was no mention of the RM1 million at the time,” said Gobind to which Ahmad Redzuan replied in the negative.
“You said he was worried about a change in leadership in Bersatu and Armada. Were those the exact words used? That’s why I put it to you that your witness statement here is untrue as you can’t recall the word spoken to you,” he added.
Apart from that, Gobind also questioned discussions between them during the time when Syed Saddiq reported the RM250,000 missing from his home where Ahmad Redzuan said only three of them were privy to Syed Saddiq’s request to withdraw RM1 million from Armada’s accounts.
Gobind said Ahmad Redzuan and other witnesses’ statements claiming that Syed Saddiq had asked for the money to be taken out so he could strengthen his position in the upcoming Armada elections were untrue.
He said those discussions would have involved more than the three signatories of the bank account.
According to the first charge, Syed Saddiq, 29, is charged as the then Bersatu Youth wing or Armada chief — who was entrusted with control of Armada funds — of abetting Rafiq Hakim Razali, Armada’s assistant treasurer at the time, with CBT of RM1 million in funds belonging to the wing.
He is alleged to have committed the offence at CIMB Bank Berhad, Menara CIMB KL Sentral, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, here on March 6, 2020, and is charged under Section 406 of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment for up to 10 years with whipping, and is liable to a fine, if found guilty.
For the second charge, the accused is charged with misusing property for himself, namely RM120,000 from the Maybank Islamic Berhad account belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise, by causing Rafiq to dispose of the money.
Syed Saddiq is accused of having committed the offence at Malayan Banking Berhad, Jalan Pandan 3/6A, Taman Pandan Jaya here, between April 8 and 21, 2018, and charged under Section 403 of the Penal Code, which carries a minimum jail term of six months and a maximum of five years with whipping, and is punishable by a fine, if convicted.
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 Berhad account into his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account.
Syed Saddiq is accused of committing the offence at a bank in Jalan Persisiran Perling, Taman Perling, Johor Baru, on June 16 and 19, 2018.
The trial is before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid. – MMO