Criminal charges no longer pursued to avoid ‘economic consequences’.
Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd’s four top executives were compounded for submitting false statements to Bursa Malaysia Securities in light of evidence and to avoid a long, protracted trial, the Attorney-General’s Chambers said.
The AGC said they are of the view that public interest would be better served by compounding the offences allegedly committed by SDHB two directors and two senior executives.
“By compounding the offences, the need for punitive action against SDHB is immediately achieved without going through a lengthy trial.
“Thereafter, SDHB can redirect resources and time to coordinate with the authorities to comply with the requirements of the law,” it said in a statement.
Earlier today, the directors and senior executives were acquitted and discharged from the charges by four Sessions Courts in Kuala Lumpur, after they settled a total fine of RM16 million.
The individuals are group CEO Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah, chief financial officer Azhan Azmi, non-independent executive director Syed Nazim Syed Faisal, as well as deputy president of accounts and finance Muhammad Hafiz Othman.
Judges Ahmad Kamar Jamaluddin, Emelia Kaswati Mohamad Khalid, Kamarudin Kamsun and Sabariah Othman granted the acquittal and discharge after the prosecution informed the court that the company and four individuals settled their total fine of RM16 million on May 9, and dropped the charges against them.
The court also ordered bail and passports to be returned to the four individuals.
The AGC said the criminal proceedings against SDHB ought not to be pursued due to the economic consequences of doing so.
“The impact of the charges on SDHB is disproportionate with the severity of the alleged offences committed.
“As at the date of this press release, SDHB is facing winding up petitions from creditors, which jeopardise the livelihood of SDHB’s employees and the interest of shareholders and other creditors.”
It said under these circumstances, the AGC finds that compounding the offences is an adequate form of punishment for the alleged offences.
This, the AGC said, would then allow SDHB to focus on rectifying errors and effecting immediate compliance with regulations of Bursa Malaysia and the SC, as SDHB had clearly done so in the past without fault.
“The AGC is mindful of the standard of proof required of the prosecution to prove the charges based on the evidence available and strongly hold the view of compounding the offences allegedly committed by SDHB and its executives.
“This is the most appropriate action to take under the circumstances.”
On April 7, the AGC gave its consent to compound the said offences to the SC. The SC, pursuant to section 373 of Act 671, accordingly compounded these offences.
In this regard, the SC had decided to impose a maximum compound on SDHB and its executives, respectively.
On April 13, notice of compound was issued to SDHB and its four executives respectively and the total amount of compound to be paid is RM16 million which they paid on May 9.
The AGC said that the SC had recommended that SDHB and the said four executives be prosecuted for the alleged contraventions.
“The AGC noted that the evidence against SDHB and its four executives was circumstantial in nature and required the application of the deeming provisions of section 367(1) of Act 671 which deem these executives to have committed the offences based on their capacity as directors or officers of SDHB.
“The SC convinced the AGC that prosecution was a necessary course of action for this case.”
Thereafter, it said the AGC gave its consent to prosecute to the SC. SDHB and its executives were consequently charged in court on December 28.
On March 21, the AGC received a representation letter dated March 17 from (SDHB) requesting, amongst others, that the AGC reconsider the charges preferred against SDHB and its four executives.
“SDHB proposed that the offences be compounded. The said letter from SDHB was forwarded to the SC for their immediate attention.
“Thereafter, the AGC discussed the said representation letter with investigating officers from the SC.
“The matter was also discussed by the Attorney General with the SC’s chairman.
“Subsequently, upon the request from the AGC, the SC submitted its investigation paper to the AGC.”
The AGC added that after perusing the said investigation paper and considering the said representation letter by SDHB, the AGC agreed with the proposal to compound the offences.
This, it said, was taking into account, amongst others, the circumstantial nature of available evidence against SDHB and reliance on section 367(1) of Act 671.
“Furthermore, SDHB and the said executives were willing to accept the maximum amount of compound imposable by the SC.” – TMI