Syed Saddiq instructed RM1mil to be distributed day after house was searched, says witness

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court was told on Wednesday (July 20) that Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (pic) had instructed that the RM1mil withdrawn from Angkatan Bersatu Anak Muda (Armada) account be distributed among party wing exco members, a day after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigated and searched his residence in Petaling Jaya in March 2020.

MACC investigating officer Mohd Syahmeizy Sulong, 37, said the money withdrawn on March 6, 2020 was in the control of Rafiq Hakim Razali, the assistant treasurer of Armada, the youth wing of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and no transactions were made during that period before it was distributed on April 1, 2020.

"The money was kept at Rafiq Hakim’s house before it was distributed to Federal Territory Bersatu Youth Information Chief Muhammad Daniel Kusari and party member then Muhammad Naqib Ab Rahim," he said during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Asyraf Mohamed Tahir at the trial of the Muar MP, who faces four charges related to criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering.

Asked why the RM1mil was distributed all of a sudden to Muhammad Daniel and Muhammad Naqib, the witness replied: The money was distributed after the MACC started investigating and searching YB Syed Saddiq's house on March 31, 2020.

Mohd Syahmeizy, who investigated the case involving the misappropriation of Armada funds, said based on witness statements, the money was withdrawn by two Armada trustees, Rafiq Hakim and Ahmad Redzuan Mohamed Shafi, who was the Armada assistant secretary on Syed Saddiq's instructions.

According to the MACC senior superintendent, the cheques were signed by Rafiq Hakim and Ahmad Redzuan because Syed Saddiq had no time to visit the bank, besides the fact that his signature changed frequently.

The 25th prosecution witness said investigations also revealed that on March 31, 2020, the accused had contacted Rafiq Hakim and instructed him to 'clear' the money kept in his (Rafiq Hakim) house as he (Syed Saddiq) was worried that the cash would be seized by the MACC.

To another question, Mohd Syahmeizy said the MACC had searched Syed Saddiq’s house on the same day (March 31) following investigations done by another case investigating officer Muhamad Khairi Muhamad Rodi, who had been investigating the case of the missing RM250,000 at the politician’s house.

According to Mohd Syahmeizy, of the RM1mil, some RM650,000 had been distributed to Muhammad Daniel while RM250,000 was to Muhammad Naqib.

However, he added, the MACC only found RM425,537 on Muhammad Daniel and went on to confiscate the money.

Asked about the rest of the money, the witness replied: From Muhammad Daniel's statement, the balance of the money was distributed to division heads and Armada members.

Earlier, Mohd Syahmeizy said there were discussions involving Syed Saddiq, Rafiq Hakim and Ahmad Redzuan in early March 2020 and according to statements by witnesses, Syed Saddiq was extremely worried about the political turmoil in the country following the 'Sheraton Move'.

"As such, YB Syed Saddiq asked Rafiq Hakim how much money was in the Armada central committee’s account. YB Syed Saddiq stated that the money was the result of hard work during his tenure as Armada chief. Rafiq Hakim then told YB Syed Saddiq that the current account balance was more than RM1mil," he said.

He also said that the withdrawals were made after Syed Saddiq's position in Pakatan Harapan was shaky and this fact was supported by several of the witness statements, namely Ahmad Redzuan, Rafiq Hakim and former Armada exco member, Abdul Hannaan Khairy.

To a question by Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin on why Syed Saddiq was charged for the first time on July 22, 2021 when the consent to prosecute was issued on Jan 4 the same year, the witness replied: For the investigation against YB Syed Saddiq, the MACC had opened five investigation papers of different complaints and information.

"Therefore, the charge against him took too long because I needed the statements given by witnesses to 'synchronise' with other investigation papers because at that time there was an incomplete investigation paper on YB Syed Saddiq," said the witness.

The trial before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid continues. - Bernama

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