Judiciary couple’s trial: More car dealers take the stand

Fadley Faisal

The prosecution called in more witnesses from car dealers in the trial 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 in the High Court yesterday.

One witness from the Accounts Department of luxury car dealer A confirmed receiving BND93,000 in June 2017 for the deposit payment of luxury car A, and subsequently issuing a receipt to Ramzidah. She then deposited the money received into the company’s bank account.

A second witness from the Accounts Department of luxury car dealer A informed the court that she received cash totalling BND235,000 for the sale of Luxury Car B in October 2015, and issued a car sales receipt to Haji Nabil Daraina.

Seeing that it was a large amount of cash, she immediately deposited the cash into the company’s bank account.

For both transactions, an accounts assistant of luxury car dealer A submitted a Cash Transaction Reporting (CTR) to the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD), as it is a requirement for cash transactions exceeding BND15,000.

Those reports were submitted immediately on the day of the receipt of cash.

Evidence of the purchase of cars from luxury car dealer B was also heard in court.

A previous salesman at the company gave evidence of selling three vehicles to the defendants, of which the first was luxury car C purchased by Ramzidah for BND245,000.

In September 2013, when the defendants came to purchase the car, the car was not yet available, so only a deposit of BND1,000 was paid.

At the end of January 2014, BND55,000 was set off from the remaining balance, as the defendants traded in their own luxury car. Another BND50,000 was paid in the form of a cheque, and the remaining BND139,000 was paid in cash.

In August 2014, the witness sold luxury car D to Ramzidah for BND200,000. The defendants traded in another luxury car of their own to pay off BND35,000 of the car, and the remaining BND165,000 was paid in cash on two separate occasions.

The last car sold by the witness was another luxury car E to Haji Nabil Daraina for BND150,000, in November 2014.

A deposit payment was received in October 2014 from Haji Nabil Daraina for the amount of BND10,000, by way of cheque. The remaining BND148,000 was paid in cash on two separate occasions.

An employee of the company who worked in the Sales Administration Department and Finance Department recalled receiving BND140,000 on November 5, 2014, as cash payment for luxury car F.

She explained that both the defendants were present at the time, but could not remember which one of them handed over the cash to her.

The cash received was in four pieces of BND10,000 notes and the remainder in 100 pieces of BND1,000 notes.

The same witness prepared a CTR to AMBD with regard to this transaction, and the document showed that the person conducting the transaction was Haji Nabil Daraina.

Another employee subsequently deposited the cash into the company’s bank account.

In his cross-examination of the witnesses from luxury car dealer B, Simon Farrell, QC suggested that the payment of cash for the last car on November 5, 2014 could have only been made by Ramzidah, because she came alone to the showroom without Haji Nabil Daraina.

Screenshots of WhatsApp messages between Ramzidah and the salesman of luxury car dealer B was shown in court. In those messages, Ramzidah made arrangements to surprise Haji Nabil Daraina with the car for his birthday on November 17, 2014.

She also said that she would come to the showroom to make the payment of BND140,000 by herself, as Haji Nabil Daraina was working in court at the time.

Despite Ramzidah making a deposit payment for the car, the salesman was unsure if Haji Nabil Daraina was aware that he would get the car.

Jonathan Caplan, QC, on behalf of the prosecution, asked for the defence to produce the mobile phone from where the WhatsApp messages were taken. In response, Farrell informed the court that they would revert to the court on this.

Farrell applied for today’s hearing to be vacated, as Haji Nabil Daraina is unwell. He also added that he needed time to discuss the case with the defendants, seeing that the prosecution’s case is almost coming to a close.

Justice Gareth John Lugar-Mawson granted the application. The trial has been adjourned to continue on October 7.

Caplan and Deputy Public Prosecutors Hajah Suhana binti Haji Sudin, Hajah Suriana binti Haji Radin, Dayangku Didi-Nuraza binti Pengiran Haji Abdul Latiff and Muhammad Qamarul Affyian bin Abdul Rahman appeared for the Public Prosecutor.

Farrell and Sheikh Noordin Sheikh Mohammad appeared for the defendants.