Sunday, January 23, 2022

Witness admits to contradictions in statements over RM3.5 million commission sought by Bung

Public Mutual investment agent Madhi Abdul Hamid says he gave contradicting statements to MACC as he was stressed.

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The main witness in the corruption trial of Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Bung Moktar Radin admitted in the Sessions Court yesterday that there were contradictions between his testimony in court and his recorded statements provided by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

During cross-examination by deputy public prosecutor Law Chin How, Public Mutual investment agent Madhi Abdul Hamid, 43, agreed that there had been a contradiction when he told the court there was no request for a commission by Bung at Hotel Continental on May 4, 2015, while his recorded statements in 2016 showed otherwise.

“I agree there is a contradiction, but I did make a recorded statement to MACC on Feb 4, 2021, and the contents of that statement on May 4 are the same with my statement in court.

“I gave two contradicting versions to MACC because I was stressed at the time. I had never been questioned in the MACC building and I only gave my statement based on what I felt and remembered at that time, because there were many statements,” he said, adding that MACC took his recorded statements on July 13, 14 and 25, as well as Oct 14, 2016, while the last statement was made almost five years later, on Feb 4, 2021.

He also disagreed with Law that the recorded statement on Feb 4, 2021 was fabricated with the intention of saving the accused.

The situation in court grew tense when deputy public prosecutor Mohd Sophian Zakaria pressed the witness about the contradictions in his statements relating to the RM3.5 million request by Bung.

Sophian asked why such a material contradiction existed in the witness’ statement in court and his four recorded statements provided by MACC as he was not threatened or coerced into providing a statement.

“After four years and four months, I made a new recorded statement with the MACC. I felt I just had the strength to provide the statement that was supposed to have been made because for four years I had been looking for the strength, I really could not work,” Madhi replied.

Sophian also asked the witness to explain his actions in providing different statements, as his recorded statement previously provided to MACC involved the future of a political leader who was then charged in court.

“The statement I gave was based on what I remembered and I remember better when I am calm,” he said.

Madhi, the prosecution’s 24th witness, was questioned following judge Rozina Ayob’s decision to allow the prosecution to cross-examine him as a hostile witness after his Nov 26 statement in court contradicted his recorded statements when he was questioned by MACC.

He had read his recorded statements earlier during the cross-examination, which stated that Bung had sought a commission of RM3.5 million as an inducement to obtain approval from Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra) Bhd to invest RM150 million in the unit trust.

Other details in the recorded statements included that the RM3.5 million Bung requested was part of the commission Madhi and another Public Mutual investment agent, Norhaili Ahmad Mokhtar, would receive from the deal.

In his recorded statements, Madhi said that he and Norhaili informed Bung’s wife, Zizie Izette Abdul Samad, at Public Bank Taman Melawati that the bank only had RM2.2 million in cash on June 12, 2015, and that Norhaili told Zizie they could only provide RM2.8 million as they had many things to pay, including payments to the agent who would handle the Felcra Bhd account.

“Zizie asked Norhaili to tell Bung himself as the money was sought by Bung and not herself. Norhaili then contacted Bung but I did not hear what was said.

“After the call, Norhaili told Zizie that Bung agreed that the payment be reduced to RM2.8 million,” he said, reading the recorded statement, adding that he and Norhaili did not give the commission to Zizie.

“The RM2.8 million was not a commission payment for Zizie. The RM2.8 million was sought by Bung, which I understood was a reward for Bung as he had assisted Norhaili and I in securing the investment from Felcra,” he read from his recorded statements.

On May 3, 2019, Bung, who is also Kinabatangan MP, pleaded not guilty to two counts of receiving bribes worth RM2.2 million and RM262,500 as inducements to obtain Felcra’s approval to invest RM150 million in Public Mutual unit trust.

Bung, 63, who was Felcra non-executive chairman at the time, allegedly received the bribe from Madhi through Zizie at Public Bank’s Taman Melawati branch between 12.30pm and 5pm, June 12, 2015.

He also pleaded not guilty to receiving a cash bribe of RM335,500 from Norhaili under Zizie’s name for the same reason at the same place on June 19, 2015.

Zizie, 43, meanwhile, pleaded not guilty to three charges of abetting her husband in the same matter at the same place, date and time.

The hearing in front of Rozina will continue on Dec 20.

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