Ex-spy chief allegedly bought six luxury watches with US$12.1m from govt

KUALA LUMPUR : Former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) director-general Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid had allegedly bought six luxury watches with part of the US$12.1 million she is alleged to have taken from the government.

The prosecution in her criminal breach of trust (CBT) case involving her misappropriation of said funds said this while reading out its opening statement in the trial which began this morning.

Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid (Photo by Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam/The Edge)

Deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad told the High Court they will prove that she had misappropriated these funds meant for the government which she received in her capacity as director-general of the Research Division of the Prime Minister’s Department.

“We will show that the accused, in her capacity as director-general of the Research Division of the Prime Minister’s Department, had received the US$12.1 million from external parties on April 30, 2018. She was given authority over the money. Witness testimonies will show that she had [committed criminal breach of trust] with the money,” he said.

He added that testimonies will show that the money was given to her for a specific purpose, which she did not carry out.

“We will also prove that she did not hand over the money to the government or even the Prime Minister’s department,” he said.

He said Hasanah has used part of the money to buy six luxury watches via her officers; however, he did not say what those watches were bought for.

“We will also prove that she had paid off third parties with the money and had taken out the money from the research division’s offices without returning it to the government.”

Earlier today before the trial began, judicial commissioner Datuk Ahmad Shahril Mohd Salleh had allowed the prosecution’s application to have 11 out of 37 witnesses testify behind closed doors (in-camera), citing national security issues.

“In my considered view, by its very nature, the intelligence ecosystem is never transparent. By common knowledge, it has always been covert and never overt.”

“As such, I hold the view that it is sufficient for the purposes of the present application for the public prosecutor to assert the highly sensitive nature to natural security of the evidence to be disclosed by the 11 prospective witnesses who are in the service of the research division,” he said.

On Oct 25, 2018, Hasanah pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to the CBT charge.

Hasanah, in her capacity as a civil servant, is alleged to have committed the offence at the office of the director-general, Research Division, Prime Minister’s Department Complex, Federal Government Administrative Centre in Putrajaya between April 30 and May 9, 2018.

She was charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years, whipping and fine, upon conviction.

By : Timothy Achariam – THE EDGE MARKETS

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