Shahrir Samad trial: RM118,000 cheque deposited into car company's bank account, says witness

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court hearing the case of former Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Ab Samad was told Wednesday (Sept 7) that a cheque amounting to RM118,485 was deposited into a Public Bank account in the name of a car company.

Public Bank Berhad banking services manager at the Taman Sentosa Branch in Johor Bahru, Seah Yeow Hwee, 59, said that based on a copy of the bank statement, there was an incoming transaction in the account on Dec 27, 2013.

"I confirm that this is an image copy of a Public Islamic Bank cheque in the name of Sutera Auto Sdn Bhd amounting to RM118,485.00 dated Dec 21, 2013. Based on the stamp on the back of the cheque, I confirm that this cheque was deposited into the Public Bank account in the name of Sutera Auto Sdn Bhd," he said.

The 14th prosecution witness said this when reading out his witness statement at the trial of Shahrir, who is facing charges of failing to declare the RM1mil he received from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).

In the previous proceedings, Sutera Auto Sdn Bhd accounts executive Rozana Khalid told the court that Shahrir had made full payment for the purchase of a Honda Civic Hybrid car worth RM118,485 using a cheque.

The prosecution, in its opening statement, had said that it would prove that Shahrir was directly involved in money laundering activities when he obtained money amounting to RM1mil from Najib and deposited it into his Public Islamic bank account through a cheque dated Nov 27, 2013.

Meanwhile, Seah, who has served at Public Bank Berhad for 38 years, agreed with Shahrir's counsel, Syahrul Syazwan Salehin, that based on a copy of the cheque and bank statement, the RM118,485 transaction took place without any problems.

Syahrul Syazwan: Based on the documents, which are copies of a cheque and bank statement, there were no issues raised in this transaction (RM118,485) regarding money laundering at that time?

Seah: Nothing suspicious.

In the meantime, another lawyer representing Shahrir, Datuk Syed Faisal Al-Edros Syed Abdullah Al-Edros requested for the prosecution to prepare witness statements for witnesses to be called and hand them over to the defence, as the statements from two witnesses who had testified before this were not provided.

"We also request that more witnesses can be called (on the day of the trial) so that the process (of the trial) can be expedited," he said.

Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin asked the prosecution to take note of the matter raised by the defence.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd 'Afif Ali said his side was aware of the matter and would call six more witnesses to testify, three of whom were important.

Shahrir, 72, is accused of money laundering by not stating his real income in the Income Tax Return Form for Assessment Year 2013, namely the RM1 million received through a cheque from Najib, believed to be from unlawful activities, which violates Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967.

He was charged with committing the offence at LHDN's Duta branch at the Government Office Complex on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here, on April 25, 2014.

The charge, framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, provides a maximum fine of RM5mil, or imprisonment of up to five years, or both, if found guilty.

The trial before Judge Muhammad Jamil continues on Oct 3. – Bernama

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