Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, the son of Sarawak governor Abdul Taib Mahmud told the Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court that he has been slandered by claims made by his former wife that he has billions of ringgit worth of assets.
Testifying at the conclusion of his examination-in-chief by his lawyer Saadiah Din, Mahmud said he also felt dejected by the testimony of two bank witnesses detailing his expenditure and assets.
"I feel I have been slandered by her (former wife Shahnaz A Majid's (left)) claims (of a total RM521 million) that I am worth thousands of millions and have many accounts overseas.
"I think this is for the plaintiff (Shahnaz) to receive a huge victory to a number which does not exist. I feel she has been cheated," said Mahmud.
He was testifying in Shahnaz's claim of mutaah (gift) following divorce of RM100 million. She is the elder sister of jazz queen Sheila Majid.
Two bank officers from CIMB and Maybank testified early in the trial. The Maybank officer gave details of Mahmud’s American Express charge card while the CIMB gave details of his current account and fixed deposits which amounted to close to RM9 million in 2012.
Mahmud testified that his wife’s claim of a total of RM521 million was as if to punish him.
Besides the mutaah claim, Shahnaz is also claiming a total of RM121 million for child maintenance that includes for the couple’s 21-year-old son Raden Murya to seek education until his doctorate, and another RM300 million joint matrimonial assets claim.
Both the two cases of child maintenance and joint matrimonial assets have yet to begin.
“She has been duped by the slander which appeared by certain parties to make this extrenous claim that our family is rich because of corruption. All this are lies and political ploys,” said Mahmud, adding she never indicated she wanted to make such legal claims prior to the divorce application.
The couple were divorced in May 2011, following an earlier application from Shahnaz and then Mahmud making his application, with the court granting his application after he pronounced talak (the proclamation of divorce) in open court.
The witness told the Syariah High Court that his former wife was employed with his company, Sarawak Securities Sdn Bhd, where she was paid RM10,000 a month plus bonus between 1993 to 1998.
“In good times, she received bonuses in excesss of a year’s wages,” he said, adding that he also paid the bungalow house loan which was finished in 2008 by paying between RM15,000 to RM20,000 monthly for 10 years.
'Land estimation incorrect'
Mahmud also testified the value of the land he owns on his own or through his companies as provided by Shahnaz’s hired chartered accounting firm Ferrer Hodgson MH Sdn Bhd, that his land is estimated to be worth between RM636.43 million to RM1.055 billion was incorrect.
Explaining further, he said that the firm estimated that the land is planted with oil palm and its age is between three to eight years, whereas a majority of the land are secondary forests.
“The estimation of RM636 million is very high as there is no oil palm The firm doing the evaluation did not visit the lands as there is no oil palm,” he said, adding that he further questioned Shahnaz’s move to take pictures of his property and cars in Bukit Tunku.
The chartered accountant from Ferrer Hodgson, Andrew Heng, haddefended his evaluation during cross-examination and valued Mahmud's assets at RM1.4 billion, following the evaluation done on the land.
The land in Bukit Tunku is owned by Ivycraft Sdn Bhd, where Mahmud has a majority stake following his late mother Laila Taib’s death.
Mahmud also told the court he did not give any permission to anyone to take pictures of his Bukit Tunku land where his bungalow is still under construction, and also of his cars.
He also denied giving permission to the banks to release details of his expenditure and assets he owned.
Earlier, Mahmud’s lawyer Saadiah showed the Syariah Court of Appeal decision dated April 2013 which has struck out the ex-parte order obtained by Shahnaz compelling her former husband to furnish details of his assets.
However, Shahnaz’s lawyers Akbardin Abdul Kader and Rafie Mohd Shafie objected to the application to introduce, saying the ex-parte order made in 2011 was valid at that time and noted the decision was only made two years later by the Syariah Court of Appeal.
Judge Mohamad Abdul Karim Wahab allowed the Syariah Court of Appeal order to be tendered and following this, Mahmud told the court that besides the ex-parte order which was struck out, there are no court orders compelling him to give details of his assets.
The hearing continues on Nov 17 with cross-examination by Shahnaz’s lawyers.