The trial of Ramzidah binti Pehin Datu Kesuma Diraja Retired Colonel Hj Abdul Rahman and Hj Nabil Daraina bin Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin continued in the High Court today. Documents obtained through the investigations carried out on the First Defendant were produced in Court. Simon Farrell QC then cross-examined the Assistant Investigating Officer tasked with conducting the investigations on the First Defendant.
255 bankruptcy files were seized for the purpose of phased investigations. These files were not copied and no index of the contents of the files were recorded. The defence counsel suggested to the Anti-Corruption Bureau, ACB's witness that no other detailed analysis was carried out on the files apart from one by the officers from the Bankruptcy Unit who prepared the Proof of Debt. The witness maintained that all the files were checked by her and the investigating team though no records were made.
A statement from the First Defendant was recorded by the ACB in March 2018 but the investigating officer is not aware of the contents of the statement as it was related to a money laundering investigation, separate from hers. Another statement was recorded by the Royal Brunei Police Force in July 2018 but the contents were also not within the witness's knowledge.
The witness explained that after documents pertaining to the cash withdrawals were collected, the ACB did call the First Defendant to give a statement but she refused. Simon Farrell QC explained that she refused because she was already charged in Court by the time she was required to give statement.
Letters stating to the effect that no FDAs exist under the First Defendant's name are being relied on by the Prosecution as evidence. These documents are questioned by the defence counsel. In some instances, no officers from the Banks were called for investigations or called by the Prosecution as witnesses to confirm its contents.
A letter from Citibank was also produced by the defence during the cross-examination of the investigating officer. No enquiries were made by the ACB to the Citibank and Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC) as both have ceased their operations in Brunei Darussalam. The witness explained that the investigations were on active FDAs in local banks. In any case, those accounts would have been transferred to other banks before ceasing its operations.
The Prosecution continued to call the investigating officer responsible for the investigations into the money laundering offences. The Chief Special Investigator is the Head of the Special Financial Investigation Division at ACB. The money laundering investigations were opened after the investigations found that both the defendants were in control of property which is disproportionate to his and her present and past emoluments. The witness conducted a forensic accounting investigation on the source of the properties in question.
Between 2003 to 2017, the First Defendant received a total salary of 9 Hundred 22 Thousand One Hundred 46 dollars and 92 cents meanwhile the Second Defendant received 9 Hundred 58 Thousand 9 Hundred 21 dollars and 52 cents.
The First Defendant has one loan liability with Baiduri Bank taken in 2002 for 2 Hundred and 66 thousand dollars which expires in 2028. The monthly loan payment is 2 Thousand 9 Hundred 48 dollars and 24 cents. Meanwhile the Second Defendant also has one loan liability with Baiduri Bank taken in 2003 for 2 Hundred and 73 Thousand dollars expiring in 2027. The monthly loan payment is 3 Thousand 6 dollars and 53 cents. Investigation revealed that the loan was to settle existing loan of 2 Hundred 28 Thousand 3 Hundred 86 dollars and 90 cents at IDBB (BIDB) and TAIB 23 Thousand and 100 dollars. The Second Defendant also has two hire purchase loan for two vehicles paid by cash monthly.
In the statutory declaration of their assets, the Defendants disclosed several sources of incomes including car sales between 2011 until 2016 for a total of 7 Hundred and One Thousand dollars in total but these are not supported by any documents. The First Defendant also stated that she receives an average of 3 Thousand dollars monthly from her parents but this is also unsupported. The Second Defendant's declaration of receiving an average of 3 Thousand dollars monthly is supported by cheque deposit receipts gathered during investigations. Between 2013-2017 he only received 1 Hundred 89 Thousand 8 Hundred and 23 dollars from his father.
The First Defendant claimed that between 2000 to 2015, she received an investment returns in the amount of 2 point 5 Million dollars from her late brother who resided in Thailand but this was unsupported by any documents. Administration of estates in the name of her late brother were granted to the First Defendant's parents and the total amount claimed were only 2 Hundred 53 Thousand, 1 Hundred 76 dollars and 87 cents.
The First Defendant also declared that she received cash gifts from 2011 to 2017 a total of 5 million dollars from a Malaysian lady for assisting in confidential agreement. With the assistance of ACB's counterpart in Malaysia, this matter was investigated and the Malaysian lady has denied giving such gift and also further denied knowing who the Defendants are.
Investigation into the cars purchased revealed that the Defendants have frequently paid to purchase vehicles using large amounts of cash including 10 Thousand dollars notes. The total purchased price of 14 cars registered under the First Defendant is 1 Million, 8 Hundred 36 Thousand, 4 Hundred and 17 dollars. Meanwhile, total purchase price for 6 cars registered under the Second Defendant is 1 Million 2 Hundred 88 Thousand, 2 Hundred and 15 dollars. Further analysis on the cash payments reveal that the 10 Thousand dollars notes used to make payments are similar to the ones withdrawn by the First Defendant from OR's BIBD Account.
The witness conducted an analysis on the usage of 10 Thousand dollars based on the reports submitted to the Authority Monetary Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) and cash transaction reports from several local banks. She found 9 transactions of cash deposits using the same 10 Thousand dollars which the First Defendant withdrew from the OR accounts in BIBD.
The investigating officer will continue to give evidence of her financial analysis on Monday, 14th of October 2019.
Source: Radio Television Brunei