KUALA LUMPUR: The defence in the trial of Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman who faces charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering is seeking to impeach a key witness following discrepancies in the latter’s statements and his oral testimony in court.
The contradictory statement involved Syed Saddiq's instructions to Rafiq Hakim Razali - the 13th prosecution witness - regarding the procedure for withdrawing RM1mil from the Angkatan Bersatu Anak Muda (Armada) bank account.
Counsel Gobind Singh Deo, who represented Syed Saddiq, said the court could use its discretion to allow the defence to start proceedings to challenge Rafiq Hakim's credibility because the document referred to, namely the witness statement, was not tendered in court by the prosecution.
"This witness statement was not used in court because the witness did not read it during the proceedings. But we know there are discrepancies based on his oral evidence and witness statements given to us before," he said before High Court Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid on Thursday (July 7).
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said if the defence wished to challenge the credibility of the witness, the latter's statement would have to be tendered in court and used as an exhibit.
"In this case, the witness (Rafiq Hakim) has admitted that there is a discrepancy (in his testimony)," he said.
Azhar then instructed both parties to argue on the matter (challenging the credibility of the witnesses).
"We need to be careful about this and I don’t want anything that could prejudice the accused to be wrongly admitted.
“To be on the safe side, I am going to require both parties to do some reading on this matter,” he said.
Earlier, the former assistant treasurer of Armada did not agree with Gobind's suggestion that he felt pressured when investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) because he had to 'find a way' not to be charged with CBT involving the RM1mil.
Gobind: One of the ways is to point the finger at Syed Saddiq. I suggest that's what you did in this case.
Rafiq Hakim: I do not agree.
Gobind: That is why you felt pressured when you were detained and investigated by the MACC.
Rafiq Hakim: I think everyone who is detained will feel pressured.
The witness also disagreed with Gobind’s suggestion that when he was questioned, the MACC only asked questions linking the act (CBT) to Syed Saddiq.
"When I was arrested, the MACC only asked about who gave the instructions to sign (the document facilitating) the RM1mil withdrawal, I informed them that it was Syed Saddiq, and that I myself would not sign if there were no instructions from him to do so," he said.
Syed Saddiq, 29, was charged as the then Armada chief - entrusted with control of Armada funds - of abetting Rafiq Hakim Razali, Armada’s assistant treasurer at the time, with CBT of RM1mil in funds belonging to the wing.
He was also charged with misusing property for himself, namely RM120,000 from the Maybank Islamic Berhad account belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise by causing Rafiq Hakim to dispose of the money at Malayan Banking Berhad, Jalan Pandan 3/6A, Taman Pandan Jaya between April 8 and 21, 2018.
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.
He is accused of committing the offence at a bank at Jalan Persisiran Perling, Taman Perling, Johor Baru on June 16 and 19, 2018. - Bernama