HC grants prosecution’s applications in judiciary couple case

Fadley Faisal

Justice Gareth Lugar-Mawson delivered his decision on the applications made by the Public Prosecutor in the case against Ramzidah binti Pehin Datu Kesuma Diraja Colonel (Rtd) Haji Abdul Rahman and Haji Nabil Daraina bin Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin yesterday.

The High Court granted the prosecution’s application for a restraining order under the Criminal Asset Recovery Order (CARO) over properties including monies held in local banks in respect to accounts belonging to the defendants and their two children, 19 vehicles purchased at BND3,203,655 and 456 luxury items worth BND1,316,274 which included watches, handbags, accessories and shoes belonging to both defendants.

The prosecution said these properties are considered tainted property and may be subjected to a confiscation order under CARO at a later date.

In respect of the Prosecution’s application for the defendants to pay prosecution’s costs, Justice Lugar-Mawson was not satisfied that they did not have the means to pay.

“This is having regard to the BND6 million misappropriated which remains untraced and unaccounted for. Despite having numerous opportunities to inform the authorities what happened to the money or if any of it remains unavailable, the defendants have chosen not to,” the Justice said.

The court viewed that even though the money involved in the money laundering charges against Haji Nabil Daraina is smaller compared to the BND15.75 million that was misappropriated by Ramzidah, the fact remains that he shared the benefits of the large amounts of money misappropriated by his wife in living and enjoying an extravagant lifestyle.

Justice Lugar-Mawson ordered for Ramzidah to pay BND1 million within six months, or face another six months’ imprisonment. The court ordered Haji Nabil Daraina to pay BND500,000 within six months, or serve another three months’ jail in default of payment.

As the defendants were initially charged with offences under Section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and these charges were ordered to be stayed by Justice Lugar-Mawson at the close of the prosecution’s case, it has been now lifted.

The court explained that the stay order was made in the interest of justice as the offence requires the defendants to give evidence in explaining the possession of their wealth whereas the law affords them a right to remain silent in respect of the other offences they faced.

As the reason for ordering the stay has now ended with the conviction and sentences against the defendants, Justice Lugar-Mawson ordered for the stay to be lifted and said that it will be for the public prosecutor to decide whether it is in the interest of justice to continue with the prosecution or otherwise, a decision which will be made after the Court of Appeal finally disposes with the appeal.

The public prosecutor was represented by a team led by Dato Seri Setia Davinder Singh S C with Deputy Public Prosecutors Hajah Suriana binti Haji Radin, Dayangku Didi-Nuraza binti Pengiran Haji Abdul Latiff and Muhammad Qamarul Affyian bin Abdul Rahman of the Attorney General’s

Chambers, and Navin Thevar of Davinder Singh Chambers LLC, Singapore.

Simon Farrell, QC and Sheikh Noordin Sheikh Mohammad, appeared for the defendants.