Branded handbags produced in ex-sports ministry officer’s graft trial

Former youth and sports ministry staff Otman Arsahd (centre) faces 32 charges of power abuse and submitting false claims.

KUALA LUMPUR: Twenty branded handbags were produced in the Sessions Court here today as case exhibits in the trial of former youth and sports ministry Finance Division secretary Otman Arsahd who is facing 32 charges of power abuse and submitting false claims involving RM38.4 million.

The bags included brands such as Christian Louboutin, Salvatore Ferragamo, Fendi Roma, Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada Milano and Christian Dior.

The bags were submitted by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) principal senior assistant superintendent Asmawi Kulup Lam during examination-in-chief by the prosecution.

Asmawi, the 49th prosecution witness, also produced the authenticity certificates for all the handbags, as well as the manual on how to care for the bags.

On April 21, 2016, Otman, 59, was charged with receiving RM16.623 million from unlawful proceeds, through cheques which were deposited into his Maybank, RHB and CIMB Berhad accounts between March 7, 2012 and Dec 11, 2015.

Prosecution is conducted by MACC deputy public prosecutors Husmarudin Husin and Aaron Chelliah while Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali is representing Otman.

Besides Otman, Abdul Gafar Abdurahiman, the director of a sports company affiliated with the ministry, and his wife Siti Rohanah Hussien, both 44, a housewife, had been charged with 63 counts of transferring RM15.723 million, alleged to be revenue from unlawful activities, from the bank accounts of their three companies into a bank account owned by Otman during the same period.

They were alleged to have committed the offence at different locations including RHB Bank branch in Precinct 8, Putrajaya; Menara Maybank in Jalan Tun Perak, and the Maybank branch in Jalan Raja Laut.

Meanwhile, Husmarudin informed the court that the prosecution would produce several more boxes containing branded handbags and watches during the hearing of the case, which will continue from April 16 to 19.

“The prosecution will also submit several luxury cars owned by the first accused (Otman), as well as the second and third accused (Abdul Gafar and Siti Rohanah),” he said.

Otman, Abdul Gafar and Siti Rohanah were charged under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, which carries a maximum fine of RM5 million or imprisonment of up to five years, or both, if found guilty.

They were also charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which carries a maximum jail term of 15 years and fine of not less than five times the sum of the unlawful activity’s proceeds, if convicted.

Abdul Gafar and Siti Rohanah were represented by lawyer Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos.