Trial Case of Two Former Judicial Officers

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 was heard in the High Court today. As the Court found that there was a case to answer for the criminal breach of trust and money laundering offences, the Defendants were required to enter their defence. Simon Farrell QC informed the Court that the First Defendant elected to remain silent but the Second Defendant will give evidence on oath.

According to the Second Defendant, the Defendants have a close relationship with both sides of their families. He testified that they regularly receive substantial financial support from both sides of their families. From each of their families, they receive at least $1,000 and at most between about $4,000 to $5,000 every month.

The Second Defendant's father's career as a civil servant has progressed over the years and is currently a Minister. His father has been generous amongst all his grandchildren.

The Second Defendant received an education allowance of $800 from the Government of Brunei Darussalam to pay for their children's education. To supplement this, the Second Defendant's father also gives money to pay the children's school at Yayasan Primary School and Jerudong International School.

Two of the cars seized by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, a Honda Odyssey and a Chevrolet Cruze, were registered under the Second Defendant's name but was used by other family members. These cars were paid by hire purchase and the monthly payments were made by the Second Defendant's father.

He described his parents-in-law to be prosperous with properties and business interests.

When the Defendants returned from their studies in the United Kingdom in 1997, they lived with the First Defendant's parents. The parents have helped to raise their children both through financial support and taking care of them. It was only in the middle of 2017 that the Defendants rented a house because they were expecting their daughter to return from the United Kingdom and needed the extra space. The house rental was at $2,000 monthly.

Simon Farrell QC then questioned the Second Defendant regarding his late brother-in-law who lived abroad in Thailand. The late brother-in-law had a business for chauffeured car limousines and was also an investor in a United States investment company in Thailand. He had a lavish lifestyle, living in a luxury condominium in Bangkok and a holiday home in Pattaya.

To the Second Defendant's recollection, his brother-in-law gave cash gifts to the First Defendant usually in an envelope so he does not know how much he would give. Over about 12 years, the late brother-in-law has given the First Defendant a total of about $23 million and also handbags.

The Second Defendant considers himself as a religious man who performs his obligations and an honest man. He pays his zaka harta every year for his joint accounts and children's account. He has paid for a year between $5,000 to $17,000 and knows that the consequence of using the money from the proceeds of crime to pay the zakat is a grave sin.

The Second Defendant maintained that he did not know that his wife withdrew cash from Official Receiver's accounts. He also did not know that the monies deposited into his joint account with his wife and used to pay the cars were from proceeds of crime. He believed that all the monies given by the First Defendant were from his late brother and the Malaysian lady.

He admitted to depositing 1 piece of $10,000 bank note into his joint account on 28th November 2014 which was a birthday gift from his wife.

According to the defence case, the Second Defendant was not present at the car dealer's when a Jaguar F-Type was paid for on 5th November 2014 and it was only the First Defendant who was present to make the payment of $40,000 in $10,000 bank notes.

The Second Defendant said he paid the deposit of $10,000 earlier but he was not planning on registering or paying for the car until the following year. He said could not have been at the car dealer's because he was hearing a criminal trial in his capacity as a magistrate. He maintained that it was a surprise birthday gift from his wife.

Jonathan Caplan QC will proceed to cross-examine the Second Defendant today.

Source: Radio Television Brunei