KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman today accused his former aides of withdrawing funds from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and its youth wing Armada to the tune of RM1 million without his prior knowledge nor consent.

The former youth and sports minister said the testimony by Rafiq Hakim Razali — the former treasurer for Armada when Syed Saddiq was its chief — who turned prosecution witness was fabricated and done of his own volition.

He also accused Rafiq of meeting his former party Bersatu’s top leadership — which he called the G5 — to discuss how to withdraw RM1 million from Armada’s main bank account without informing him of his intentions, adding that eventually when caught Rafiq put the blame on him.

“I unequivocally did not ask Rafiq nor the assistant secretary Ahmad Redzuan Ahmad Shafi to withdraw said RM1 million from Armada’s main banking account. As far as I can recall G5 leadership had a meeting in early March 2020 to discuss what we need for the impending Covid-19 pandemic, Ramadhan celebrations and preparations for Aidilfitri in 2020.

“The meeting was held before we went into lockdown and in those discussions the matter of this RM1 million never arose nor was it discussed. G5 only discussed how to deliver aid to the people, G5 then told Rafiq to discuss the matter with Armada’s Ecxo to decide how much money we would need.

“I had never insisted that the money in the Armada’s CIMB bank account number 8008483525 was raised by me in my capacity as Armada chief and always insisted the money belonged to the party.

“As such I emphasise here that I had never discussed with Rafiq or Redzuan separately from G5 to instruct them to take out RM1 million from Armada’s official accounts,” he said today on the first day of his criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of funds trial.

In this trial, Syed Saddiq has two charges pinned against him, charges of abetting in criminal breach of trust (CBT), misappropriation of assets and money laundering.

According to the first charge, Syed Saddiq, 30, is charged as the then Bersatu Youth wing or Armada chief — who was entrusted with control of Armada funds — of abetting Rafiq, Armada’s assistant treasurer at the time, with CBT of RM1 million in funds belonging to the wing.

He was alleged to have committed the offence at CIMB Bank Berhad, Menara CIMB KL Sentral, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, here on March 6, 2020, and was charged under Section 406 of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment for up to 10 years with whipping, and is liable to a fine, if found guilty.

For the second charge, the accused was charged with misusing property for himself, namely RM120,000 from the Maybank Islamic Berhad account belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise, by causing Rafiq to dispose of the money.

Syed Saddiq was accused of having committed the offence at Malayan Banking Berhad, Jalan Pandan 3/6A, Taman Pandan Jaya here, between April 8 and 21, 2018, and charged under Section 403 of the Penal Code, which carries a minimum jail term of six months and a maximum of five years with whipping, and is punishable by a fine, if convicted.

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.

Syed Saddiq was accused of committing the offence at a bank in Jalan Persisiran Perling, Taman Perling, Johor Baru, on June 16 and 19, 2018.

For the first charge, Syed Saddiq said the RM120,000 they raised came from his own fundraising activities. He outlined the events which were held on April 7, 2018 at SKT banquet Hall in Muar and Fund Raising Battle-Johor at De Palma Hotel in Ampang on April 8, 2018.

The funds were to be used for his campaigning period for the 15th general elections (GE14).

All the posters and fliers for these events were specifically tailored to mention it was for campaigning for the elections and no Armada or Bersatu logos were on display he said and he had also used some of his own money to finance these events.

“I can confirm that Armada’s account in Maybank, Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise (ABBE) account number 562254511198 was used to collect funds for GE14. Initially my team and I discussed which accounts to use and decided we should go with a personal account but we ended up using a business account.

“Upon discussion with Mohamed Amshar Aziz, I instructed him to speak to Rafiq and ask if we should open a separate account for this but Rafiq said we needn’t do that and should use the ABBE account from Maybank so we did.

“Rafiq told me we had RM120,000 in the bank account.”

He then went on to explain that during the dinner event in Muar he used RM30,000 of his own money to fund the event while they collected RM90,000 at the second event in Ampang because a private benefactor called Major (R) Tan Pau Son had contributed towards the cost of the event, including the venue, staff salaries and miscellaneous costs.

Tan is Syed Saddiq’s former senior at the Royal Military College.

“So once these events finished Rafiq told me how much we collected and with all sincerity I felt this money was mine not Armada’s nor Bersatu’s.

“In addition, for the campaign period from April 16, 2018 until May 8, 2018 I had used my own savings of RM171,675 to fund my campaign. Since this was more than the RM120,000 we raised, all the money was spent during campaigning and the funds raised were used for his purpose,” he added.

As for the two transactions of RM50,000 he admitted they were not from illegal activities and were funds used to replenish his own account that he used for campaigning.

“I have no inclination and no reasons to believe the RM50,000 on June 16, 2018 and Rm50,000 on June 19, 2018 which were deposited into my account were derived from shady practices nor should it be considered an anti-money laundering act.

“All the money was from my hard work of trying to raise funds for my campaign in GE14 and they were used for the sole purpose of campaigning,” he concluded.