Contractor gets one-year prison for concealing Ecuadorian company’s funds

KUALA LUMPUR – A contractor was sentenced to one year in prison by the Sessions Court here for aiding in concealing nearly RM4 million belonging to a South American company in his bank account, six years ago.

Judge Azrul Darus imposed the sentence on Muhammad Hafiz Abdul Halim, 36, after he pleaded guilty to three charges presented in today’s case management proceedings.

The court ordered the accused to serve one year in prison for each charge, with the sentences to run concurrently from the date he was charged in court on Dec 19, 2023.

Muhammad Hafiz was accused of aiding in concealing RM3.92 million belonging to Ecuadorian company, Energy Think Tank, knowing full well it did not belong to him, at CIMB Bank, Wisma Genting, Jalan Sultan Ismail here, on March 6, 8, and 12, 2018.

The charges were framed under Section 424 of the Penal Code, which provides a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment or a fine, or both, upon conviction.

Based on the facts of the case, in 2018, Energy Think Tank entered into a transaction with Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan via email for the purchase of electric generator machine spare parts, and received an invoice from one Yurina Kobayashi, demanding payment of USD1,020,000 into the CIMB Bank account of Mitsubi World Industry. This involved three fund transfers.

Energy Think Tank, which suffered a loss of RM3.92 million, felt deceived when Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan denied receiving such an invoice, and that it had no employee named Yurina Kobayashi.

Investigations revealed that the account was opened at CIMB Bank, Wisma Genting, under Mitsubi World Industry as a sole owner, namely the accused, after a woman requested him to register the company online with the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

The accused handed over the bank card, PIN, and chequebook to the woman, after which he was instructed to withdraw cash three times to be handed over to a Nigerian man before being told to close the account.

Muhammad Hafiz’s lawyer, Maidzatul Akmal Daud of the National Legal Aid Foundation appealed for a lenient sentence, stating his client has repented, and that he was supporting his spouse, a housewife, and a disabled child.

However, deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Amir Hannif Ahijman requested a deterrent sentence considering the three charges and high losses amounting to RM4 million, emphasising the need to send a message to the accused and the public to refrain from getting involved in such situations. – BERNAMA / pic TMR FILE