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Published: Friday April 6, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday May 27, 2013 MYT 11:16:48 AM

Insufficient funds, so lawyer got rid of Sosilawati and friends, court told

SHAH ALAM: The Shah Alam High Court was told Friday that ex-lawyer N. Pathmanabhan's motive for getting rid of Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others was because he did not have sufficient money to clear a cheque for RM3mil that was to be paid to the cosmetics millionaire on Sept 9, 2010.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Saiful Edris Zainuddin said that Patmanabhan, the first accused in the murder case of Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others, was under tremendous pressure to come up with a big amount of money and that he knew he would never be able to come up with the money.

"The solution was to get rid of Datuk Sosilawati and her friends," he told the court in his submission at the end of prosecution's case here Friday.

The cheque for the sum of RM3mil was given by Patmanabhan besides another cheque for RM4mil, both dated Sept 9, 2010, in the name of Sosilawati for sale of land in Penang, he said.

The DPP said it was previously established by Sosilawati's daughter Erni Dekritawati Yuliana Buhari that Sosilawati went to Banting to meet Patmanabhan to discuss land matters and to expedite payment on the cheque so that she could use the money to pay bonuses to her staff and for her use as the Adilfitri celebration was coming on Sept 10, 2010.

He said according to Erni, the value stated on the cheque was RM3mil.

Pathmanabhan and three farm workers, T. Thilaiyalagan, R. Matan and R. Khatavarayan are charged with the murder of Sosilawati, 47, bank officer Noorhisham Mohamad, 38, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, and Sosilawati's driver, Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44.

Pathmanabhan, 43, Thilaiyalagan, 21, Matan, 22, and Kathavarayan, 32, allegedly committed the offence at Lot 2001, Jalan Tanjong Layang, Tanjung Sepat, Banting, between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on Aug 30, 2010.

They face the mandatory death sentence upon conviction under Section 302 of the Penal Code.

Saiful also told the court that according to the prosecution's 98th witness, bank officer Yvonne Tiong Guat Choo, as at Aug 30, 2010, Patmanabhan only had RM1.38mil in his account.

"The first accused did not have enough funds to clear the cheques amounting to RM4mil or even RM3mil," he said.

Initially, he said, the sum of RM3mil was banked into the client's account of Pathma Nalli & Partners on Aug 3, 2010 but the next thing that happened was that almost all the RM3mil (RM2.9 million) was transferred to Pathmanabhan's account.

"To justify the withdrawal of almost RM3mil belonging to Datuk Sosilawati, the first accused had created a letter which authorised him to withdraw the said amount from the client's account to his personal account. The letter was dated Aug 11, 2010," said Saiful.

He also drew the court's attention that the date of the letter, Aug 11, 2010, and the date of the first withdrawal of a sum of RM500,000, which was Aug 11, 2010.

Saiful said the 79th prosecution witness, computer forensics officer Insp. Suzana Zainal Abidin, who analysed the computer found at the office of Messrs Patma Nalli and Partners, had testified that the letter which authorised Pathmanabhan to withdraw Sosilawati's money from the client's account was actually created at 11.45 am on Aug 30, 2010 and was last updated at 2.54 pm on the day in which Sosilawati and her friends met their death.

He said:"Bear in mind that prior to the transfer of the sum OF RM500,000 on Aug 11, 2010, the first accused only had RM313.35 in his account."

Saiful also said the prosecution hoped that the court would accept forensic expert from Kuala Lumpur Hospital Dr Nurliza Abdullah's findings that items referred to her by investigating officer ASP Mohd Ishak Yaakob had a high possibility of being human bones, based on her observation and critical analysis using her naked eye and magnifying glass.

"Her findings were corroborated by two other experts, forensic odontologist Norhayati Jaafar and radiologist Zaleha Abd Manaf. Both confirmed the bone fragments were probably human bones," he said.

Dr Nuliza's findings showed consistency with evidence of Siti Hamidah Karnax, a witness who testified that on the night of the incident on Aug 30, 2010, she saw a big bonfire after she heard the voice of a lady screaming twice, he said.

Prior to that, Saiful said, Siti Hamidah had also testified that she saw a woman and three men come to the farm (Ladang Gadong) while R. Khatavarayan, the fourth accused, had led the policemen to Sungai Panchau where police discovered the bone fragments in question.

Furthermore, he said, in the present case, the defence did not call any experts for rebuttal.

"Therefore, it is safe to say that Dr Nurliza's evidence is unshaken and this honourable court should accept her evidence."

Saiful said besides Sosilawati and her three companions going missing after meeting Pathmanabhan, the court was told that two businessmen, Shafiq Davendran Abdullah, a local, and Indian national Allal Kantan Muthuraja also disappeared after meeting the first accused in Banting.

The existence of Syafiq was no coincidence as his bank document in a blue plastic bag was found in the first accused's pick up truck.

A file seized by ASP Khoo Fei Chow had documents which stated Muthuraja was the holder of Power of Attorney for a piece of land in Penang was found, he said.

He said Siti Hamidah had identified both Syafiq and Muthuraja when she was shown their photos and she testified had seen both men come to the farm and subsequently saw a bonfire, as in the case of Sosilawati and the three others.

Saiful: "It is our humble submission that there is a semblance of facts that all of them had met with the first accused at Ladang Gadong and all of them went missing after that.

"In all of the cases, the witness (Siti Hamidah) described she saw bonfires. Until today no news has been heard of from Syafiq, Muthuraja, Sosilawati, Kamil, Kamaruddin and Hisham."

Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir then adjourned the proceeding to April 30 to decide whether the four accused would have to enter defence or not. - Bernama

Related Stories: Lawyer: Not an iota of proof Sosilawati, three others met lawyer in Banting, court told Banting murders: Four accused to know fate on Apr 30 Banting murders: Witness places two missing businessmen at accused's house Banting murders: Hubby did not return to India after meeting accused Banting murders: Sosilawati planned to sell Penang land for RM200mil Banting murders: Investigating officer told to re-pack soil sample Banting murders trial: Instruction to freeze accused's bank account Banting murders: Documents with missing man's name seized from accused's firm Banting murders: No DNA of four accused found on exhibits, expert testifies Banting murders: DNA of 3 victims found on cricket bat and zinc sheets

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