KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — A witness in Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s trial has been accused of not knowing his facts, misinterpreting what was said to him and being coached by the deputy public prosecutor (DPP) and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on what amounts to the offence of criminal breach of trust (CBT).
Defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo today accused Rafiq Rahim Razali of not knowing what laws or rules in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) constitution were broken when RM1 million was withdrawn from an Armada bank account two years ago until informed by MACC officers.
Gobind also said Rafiq’s testimony that Syed Saddiq told him to “clear kan” (dispose of) the money was misinterpreted by him since he had no recollection of the exact words said to him on the day in question.
Gobind: Please help me here. What does ‘clear kan’ mean?
Rafiq: Don’t keep the money at my house.
Gobind: It means dispose of it, doesn’t it? Throw it into the river? This money, however, was withdrawn for Armada programmes and for the use for their welfare activities. So why would you want to dispose of it? Doesn’t make sense, right?
Gobind: Which means that’s not what ‘clear kan’ means, right?
Rafiq: I disagree.
Gobind: But you can’t recall what was said to you. I’m being fair to you. Don’t come here and try to remember what was said to you. I put it to you that that wasn’t what he meant, and he didn’t use those words. That is your interpretation and understanding of what he meant, right?
Gobind then recalled Rafiq’s testimony yesterday where he cited provision 24/8 of the party’s constitution as the breach of protocol which led to his arrest, along with Syed Saddiq, and subsequent investigations leading up to today’s trial.
He asked if Rafiq knew there was a breach of law before being detained by MACC officials, to which Rafiq said no.
Rafiq added that when he went to meet MACC officers, he felt that he had done nothing wrong.
Gobind then pointed out that in today’s trial, Rafiq brought up the lack of a “kertas kerja” (proposal papers) that is required to withdraw more than RM500,000 from Armada’s accounts.
He said this document didn’t exist for Syed Saddiq’s RM1 million withdrawal and that it wasn’t out of the ordinary as it wasn’t normal practice in the party to issue one.
Gobind: When you were arrested by the MACC, you were referred to provision 24/8 of the party constitution, and then told there was a breach, correct?
Gobind: In fact, you said that prior to that, you didn’t know what 24/8 is and you felt you had done nothing wrong, isn’t it?
Gobind: You were told by the MACC that the constitution of Bersatu had been contravened, right?
Gobind: But now you know that the MACC is wrong? Provision 24/8 does not say withdrawals are an offence. It says expenditure for a one-off payment exceeding RM500,000 is an offence, which isn’t the case here, correct?
Rafiq: Yes, correct.
Gobind: Is that why your whole evidence has changed today and you’re focusing on the proposal papers?
Gobind: This is ridiculous. Who told you to do this? Which DPP? Because you don’t know this yourself. You’re not a lawyer. Who told you to come to court and forget about 24/8 and focus on the proposal papers?
Rafiq: No one.
Gobind: I put it to you that your evidence here today is highly suspect. If your grouse is 24/8, that would be the first thing you would have pointed out in court this morning.
Gobind: So you’re fixing him up.
Gobind: Of course, you’ll say no but the court will decide.
Rafiq was the assistant treasurer for Armada at the time and was one of three signatories required to withdraw money from said Armada account at CIMB bank but when crossed by Gobind, Rafiq admitted he was told by MACC officers what the offences committed by Syed Saddiq was after he was detained for six days at their headquarters in Putrajaya.
Rafiq yesterday told the High Court that no Bersatu rules were broken when withdrawing the money citing provisions 24/8 in the constitution which stated that only expenditure of more than RM500,000 must get prior approval from Bersatu’s leadership council.
Today during his testimony Rafiq said in order to withdraw sums more than RM500,000 it needed a working paper and approval first for any one-off payments more than RM500,000.
Rafiq also said he was detained for six days at MACC headquarters for investigations and that he had broken down several times as he had no contact with the outside world.
Only after five days did an officer take pity on him and let him call his wife with the officer’s handphone.