Man in MH370 theft goes to jail alone

Man in MH370 theft goes to jail alone
Mechanic Basheer Ahmad Maula leaves court after being sentenced to four years in prison and three strokes of the cane for stealing over $2000 from the account of a passenger who was onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 20, 2015.

KUALA LUMPUR - The husband of the bank officer who stole from the bank accounts of four MH370 passengers went to prison alone after his wife skipped court due to diarrhoea.

Judge Norsharidah Awang sentenced mechanic Basheer Ahmad Maula Sahul Hameed, 34, to four years in prison and three strokes of the rotan - and gave him a tongue-lashing as well.

"Your crime is despicable, disgusting. You were willing to steal from the MH370 victims," the judge said yesterday.

She added that his actions tarnished the image of the bank and of Malaysia, since two of the victims were China nationals.

Although Basheer asked for leniency as he had pleaded guilty, DPP Fadhli Mahmud urged the court not to lessen the punishment.

"The accused's actions brought further pain to the families who were already grieving over the loss of their loved ones," said Fadhli.

The court initially reserved judgment against Basheer's wife, bank officer Nur Shila Kanan, as she was on sick leave with diarrhoea. She submitted a medical certificate from Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

However, after attempting to verify the MC, Judge Norsharidah issued an arrest warrant for Nur Shila and fixed today for further case management.

On April 28, Basheer and Nur Shila pleaded guilty to over a dozen charges of theft relating to money from the accounts of four MH370 victims.

Basheer faced four charges of using a debit card and an ATM card to withdraw a total of RM7,650 (S$2,498) from the account of Chinese national Tian Jun Wei.

Nur Shila was accused of making illegal transfers, making fraudulent debit cards and Internet banking applications to obtain RM85,180 from the victims' bank accounts.

The money was reported missing from the accounts of two Chinese nationals, Ju Kun and Tian Jun Wei, and Malaysians Hue Pui Peng and flight steward Tan Size Hiang.

During trial, it was revealed that HSBC returned the cash to the account holder's families. The criminal duo's bank accounts were frozen instead.

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