Malaysian couple in dock over $4.4m scam

Malaysian couple in dock over $4.4m scam

KUALA LUMPUR - A couple has been charged with cheating more than a dozen people out of RM11.9million(S$4.4 million) through various get-rich-quick schemes.

Businessman Datuk Ahmad Sabri Abdul Manaf, 54, was charged with 34 counts of cheating amounting to RM6.7mil before a Sessions Court here.

The alleged schemes included re-selling Malaysia Airlines (MAS) tickets in conjunction with the Sepang F1 Grand Prix, which promised up to 20 per cent returns; a tender to supply blankets to MAS, which promised between 10 per cent and 25 per cent return; and a gold investment plan.

The offences allegedly occurred at various locations around Kuala Lumpur between April 2010 and February 2011.

He was also slapped with a separate charge under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 (Bafia) for accepting deposit from the public via a CIMB Bank Bhd account, without a valid licence under the Act.

The court interpreter took some 40 minutes to read all the charges, due to the sheer number of charges.

Ahmad Sabri claimed trial to all of them.

He faces up to 10 years jail and a fine for each cheating charge, while the Bafia offence is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to RM10mil, or both upon conviction.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurshuhaida Zainal Azahar suggested that a RM1mil bail be set for the charges involving cheating and an additional RM100,000 bail for the Bafia charge.

She also asked that Ahmad Sabri's travel documents be surrendered and that he be ordered to report to a police station once a month.

The additional conditions, she said, were imposed because police had complained that Ahmad Sabri had been uncooperative and difficult to locate.

"Since the investigations began in 2012, the accused has changed his mobile phone number five times.

"The investigating officer had to go to several of his homes and the accused still could not be located," said Nurshuhaida.

She added that on Wednesday, the police officer obtained Ahmad Sabri's number and asked to meet him, but Ahmad Sabri claimed to be in Temerloh, Pahang and could only meet on Friday.

"But it turns out that he was actually in the Hartamas Business Hotel and he was arrested in the lobby of the hotel," said Nurshuhaida.

Ahmad Sabri's lawyer, Afifudin Hafifi said the defence had no objection to the additional conditions.

"However, we urge that the bail be lowered," said Afifudin.

Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah allowed bail at RM550,000 along with the additional conditions.

He fixed case management on Feb 23, while the trial has been set for May 18 to May 20.

Meanwhile in another Sessions Court, Ahmad Sabri's wife Felinnia Saruti Sadri, 36, was charged with 21 similar offences involving cheating 13 of the same victims, amounting to RM5.2mil.

She also faced a charge under the Bafia for accepting deposit from the public into her husband's CIMB Bank Bhd account and her own account, without a valid licence under the Act.

Counsel Datuk Mohd Shahrom Mohamad represented Felinnia Saruti.

Judge Abdul Rashid Daud allowed bail at RM300,000 with the additional conditions that she surrender her passport and report to a police station once a month. Felinnia Saruti posted bail.

The judge also set Feb 23 for the next mention.

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