Court rejects couple’s retraction

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 14 May 2015

Duo to know fate soon: Nur Shila and her husband Basheer will know their fate next week.

KUALA LUMPUR: The couple who admitted stealing from the bank accounts of four MH370 passengers will be sentenced by the Sessions Court here next Wednesday despite a last-ditch effort to withdraw their plea.

Former HSBC Malaysian bank officer Nur Shila Kanan and her mechanic husband Basheer Ahmad Maula Sahul Hameed, both 34, abruptly tried to retract their earlier admission to the crimes.

Judge Norsharidah Awang said the reversal was unacceptable as they had already stated that they understood the charges, and had admitted to committing the crime on April 28.

Nur Shila and Basheer had pleaded guilty mid-trial, but asked for a later sentencing date so that they could make arrangements for the care of their children in the event they were jailed.

DPP Fadhli Mahmud said their actions had stalled the case, saying the duo had changed their lawyers five times since being brought to court last year.

“They've kept coming up with excuses to delay court proceedings. Even their latest lawyer discharged himself.”

Both Nur Shila and Basheer's lawyer, who only identified himself as Murali, discharged himself when the court refused to give his clients several more days to prepare their mitigation.

Earlier in the proceedings, the couple’s lawyers from the Legal Aid Bureau withdrew after the couple announced they had hired Murali as their new lawyer. Norsharidah fixed sentencing for Friday.

On Aug 14, 2014, the couple claimed trial to making illegal transfers and withdrawals amounting to RM85,180 from four MH370 passengers’ accounts.

Nur Shila faces 12 principal charges in relation to transferring money from the passengers’ accounts to other bank accounts, theft, applying for a debit card as well as Internet banking facilities with intent to cheat, and using forged documents at the HSBC branch in Lebuh Ampang from May 14 to July 14.

Basheer faces four main charges, including one for using a debit card and an ATM card to withdraw cash from the bank accounts.

The money was reported missing from the accounts of two Chinese nationals — Ju Kun and Tian Jun Wei — and Malaysians Hue Pui Peng and Tan Size Hiang, a Malaysia Airlines flight steward.

During trial, it was revealed that HSBC had returned the money to the account holders’ families, and froze the duo’s bank accounts.

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