Court affirms doctor’s 3-year jail sentence for money laundering, abetting

Pharmaceutical company founder Hamimah Idruss had been found guilty of forgery and money laundering involving more than RM41.3 million in 2012.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has affirmed the conviction and jail sentence of a doctor for money laundering and abetting involving more than RM41.3 million.

Dr Hamimah Idruss was the first person accused under the Anti-Money Laundering Act or Amla, after the law was enacted in 2001.

She had been sentenced to one year in jail on each of eight counts of money laundering and another three years on each of 10 counts of abetting. The sentences are to run concurrently.

The panel, led by Appeals Court judge Yaacob Md Sam, ruled that the lower courts did not commit any error in their decisions finding Hamimah guilty of abetting to forge promissory notes, that were issued to raise funds for her then pharmaceutical company.

The court said she had “knowingly” used funds raised from the forged promissory notes to pay the company’s debts.

“We find the convictions on all the charges to be safe.

“However, we shall make a correction in respect of the pecuniary penalty that the accused is liable to pay, by substituting the sum of RM6,394,530.72 with the sum of RM6,350,259.83,” said Court of Appeal judge Ravinthran Paramaguru, who wrote the court’s judgment.

Another judge who sat on the panel was Zabariah Mohd Yusof.

In the appeal, Hamimah’s lawyers argued that the testimony of the alleged accomplice and prosecution witness, Yusaini Wan Abi Sabian, was not safe for the court to rely on.

The court dismissed the argument, saying that “under the law, an accomplice is a competent witness”.

“Both judges in the Sessions and High Courts were mindful that he was an accomplice and the accused had paid him RM200,000 as a reward,” the judgment read.

The court noted that Yusaini, in his evidence, had said he would not have forged the signature of the company’s chief operating officer if he had not been instructed by Hamimah to do so.

The court also dismissed the defence’s argument that the money laundering charges were not proven.

“She did not deny using the money to pay the company’s debts.

“Bank officers testified that the funds in question were ultimately routed to Malaysia through Goodrich Overseas Group of Hong Kong into bank accounts controlled by one Hendry Toon and her,” Ravinthran said.

The Sessions Court had sentenced Hamimah to one year in jail on each of eight counts of money laundering and three years each on another 10 counts of abetting in 2012. The High Court also affirmed the ruling.

Hamimah was represented by Harvinderjit Singh while deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar appeared for the prosecution.

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