The Kuala Lumpur High Court was told yesterday that Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman ordered the withdrawal of RM1 million from the Bersatu Youth wing’s account for fear that there would be a change in the party’s leadership.
Former youth wing assistant secretary Ahmad Redzuan Mohamed Shafi, 32, said Syed Saddiq told him that he had the right to use the money in the CIMB account which he had sourced through donations.
According to the special officer to Education Minister Radzi Jidin, a meeting was held at Syed Saddiq’s house in Petaling Jaya, Selangor in early March 2020.
“The meeting was attended by me and Rafiq Hakim Razali (youth wing assistant treasurer). We discussed the change in government and the wing’s position in the government because Syed Saddiq was in the opposition bloc along with Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Syed Saddiq ordered Rafiq Hakim and I to withdraw money amounting to RM1 million from the youth wing’s account,” he said, reading his witness statement at the trial of Syed Saddiq, who faces four charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering.
The 11th prosecution witness said Syed Saddiq said the money had to be withdrawn from the account to strengthen his position as the youth wing chief in the event of any internal party crisis.
Redzuan said only he and Rafiq Hakim were called by Syed Saddiq to attend the meeting because they were the trustee signatories of CIMB Bank Armada Pusat cheques and only the three of them knew about the matter.
“Rafiq Hakim and I withdrew RM1 million from Armada’s official account on March 6, 2020 at the instruction of Syed Saddiq.
“(However), Syed Saddiq did not tell me and Rafiq Hakim whether the withdrawal had received the permission of the Bersatu Supreme Council,” said Redzuan, adding that Syed Saddiq had told him that the money was meant for party use.
The witness also said he had suggested to Rafiq Hakim that the money be kept at Daniel’s house as it had a safe.
Redzuan said Rafiq Hakim agreed to his suggestion, and after the money was withdrawn from the account, Rafiq Hakim brought the money to his house before handing it to Daniel.
The witness said he only knew that Syed Saddiq’s order was an offence after being summoned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on June 3, 2020 for violating Clause 24 of the Bersatu constitution.
Redzuan said according to Clause 24, the treasurer-general is only allowed to keep retail cash of less than RM50,000 at a time, and the money must be kept in a safe place in a registered office for the party’s retail expenses.
He said expenditure in excess of RM500,000 at any one time was not allowed without the prior permission of Supreme Council.
“I confirm that Syed Saddiq himself cannot withdraw cash from the CIMB Bank account under the name of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Armada Pusat) without instructing me and Rafiq Hakim to do so.
“Regarding the RM1 million issue, although the approval was issued by Syed Saddiq to me and Rafiq Hakim to withdraw the money, it violated the ethics of withdrawing money from Armada’s account,” he said, adding that he had to abide by Syed Saddiq’s instructions, given his capacity as the youth wing chief and also Muar MP.
Syed Saddiq was charged as Bersatu’s then Youth chief, entrusted with the control of the wing’s funds, with abetting Rafiq with CBT of RM1 million.
He was accused of committing the offence at CIMB Bank, Menara CIMB KL Sentral, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, on March 6, 2020, charged under Section 406 of the Penal Code which provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years and a whipping, with the possibility of a fine upon conviction.
For the second charge, Syed Saddiq was accused of misusing property for himself, namely RM120,000 from the Maybank Islamic account belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise by causing Rafiq to dispose of the money.
He was accused of committing the offence at Malayan Banking, Jalan Pandan 3/6A, Taman Pandan Jaya between April 8 and 21, 2018, and charged under Section 403 of the Penal Code which carries a jail term of between six months and five years, with whipping and a fine upon conviction.
He also faces two counts of engaging in money laundering activities, in two transactions of RM50,000 believed to be the proceeds of unlawful activities from his Maybank Islamic account into his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account.
Syed Saddiq was accused of committing the offence at a bank in Jalan Persisiran Perling, Taman Perling, Johor Bahru, on June 16 and 19, 2018.
The charges were framed under Section 4 (1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, punishable under Section 4 (1) of the same law, which provides for a maximum imprisonment of 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or the proceeds of illegal activities, upon conviction.