Monday, April 14, 2014

Accountant defends report on Bekir's assets

By Hafiz Yatim

Chartered accountant Andrew Heng denied hat the report he prepared with regard to Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib's assets was biased.

Heng, who was hired by Bekir's former wife Shahnaz A Hamid, told the Kuala Lumpur Syariah Court that the evaluation of the subject's assets was gained from company reports, financial statements, company searches, land office searches and other documents in the public domain.

Replying to questions from Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar during cross-examination, Heng said he also obtained information from Shahnaz in preparing the report.

Zainur Rijal: How many times did you meet the plaintiff (Shahnaz) before preparing the report?

Heng: I cannot remember, between five and 10 times.

Zainul Rijal: Did her lawyers meet you?

Heng: Yes. But not more than three times.

Zainul Rijal: I put it to you that the report you prepared is biased as you did not ask information from the defendant (Bekir) or his lawyers?

Heng: I do not agree that the report I prepared is biased as the search is in the public domain.

Zainul: Why did you not check with the defendant?

Heng: I have no access.

Heng is the second witness to testify in Shahnaz's mutaah (gift) claim of RM100 million following the couple's divorce in 2011.

During the last session, Heng said Bekir's assets are close toRM1.4 billion. Bekir is the son of Sarawak governor Taib Mahmud.

Heng, a partner from Ferrer Hodgson MH Sdn Bhd, is the second witness to testify in Shahnaz’s mutaah (gift) claim of RM100 million following the couple’s divorce in 2011. At the last session, Heng said Bekir’s assets are close to RM1.4 billion.

He testified that he was appointed by Shahnaz as an independent adviser to prepare the report while Zainul Rijal was trying to question his findings.

‘Not a registered valuer’

When quizzed further by Zainul Rijal on whether the firm Heng worked in is a registered valuer, Heng admitted that he is not a registered valuer but defended his report as correct.

To another question from Bekir’s counsel, Heng replied that his evaluation on the land could involve some mistakes with the land calculation.

When asked further on the report Heng prepared, he admitted the entire report cannot be produced in its entirety without his firm’s authorisation, but when told by Zainul Rijal the media had reported his testimony, the chartered accountant defended that this was based on court proceeding and his firm never handed over a copy of the report to the media.

Shahnaz’s counsel, Akbardin Abdul Kader, in objecting to the question said it was obvious the media in the public gallery can report what is in a trial.

The proceeding further went on with Zainul Rijal asking why the copy handed to the defence does not have the signature of Heng’s partner, to which Akbardin said this could be an oversight by the lawyers as their copy and the judge’s copy have all the necessary signatures including that of the partner.

Following this, Syariah judge Mohamad Abdul Karim Wahab ordered Shahnaz’s lawyers to give the proper copies to the defence.

Mohamad Abdul Karim also ordered that the trial resume on the next date on April 30 as he has an emergency matter to attend to.
~ Malaysiakini

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