Sarawak business tycoon to sue former wife and team for fraud and forgery
The accusation by Shahnaz Abdul Majid against her former husband Sarawak business entrepreneur Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib of bringing an unmarried Australian woman to his sister’s wedding, was today demolished in the Kuala Lumpur Shahriah court when it was proved that Abu Bekir was legally married to the Australian.
In a cross examination on January 21, lawyer Akberdin Haji Abdul Kader acting for plaintiff Shahnaz had accused Abu Bekir of not being legally married to the Australian Aida Louise Karen Hiley prior to Abu Bekir’s sister’s wedding. A marriage certificate between Abu Bekir and Aida was tendered as evidence that he had only married Aida in February 2000 while the court had earlier been told that Abu Bekir’s sister Hanifah Hajar Taib married in 1999.
Today, this argument was shot down when Abu Bekir tendered a copy of Hanifah’s marriage certificate dated August 3, 2000 as well as copies of news clippings of the wedding to show proof. This revelation was followed by hurried consultation between the plaintiff and her lawyers.
“My father would not have tolerated my bringing strange women to family events,” testified Abu Bekir, in squashing allegations that he was not married at the time to the Australian. Abu Bekir, the son of Sarawak Governor Abdul Taib Mahmud, gave this testimony today before Judge Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahab at the Shariah High Court in Kuala Lumpur. He was represented by his legal counsels Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar and Saadiah Din.
In today’s cross examination led by the plaintiff’s counsel Akberdin, Abu Bekir was asked for documentary evidence to support his accusation that Shahnaz had subscribed to the services of Canadian fraudsters Cullen Johnson and Elaine White.
In a previous hearing on September 2 last year, Abu Bekir said his former wife had been made to believe by the Canadian fraudsters that he had multiple offshore accounts in Canada, the US, the Caribbean, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Hong Kong and Switzerland. He also testified that an international conspiracy by Sarawak Report led by political activist Clare Rewcastle-Brown and the Bruno Manser Fund contributed to Shahnaz’s misbelief.
The Canadian pair, he said, had fabricated realistic-looking banking information that would lead one party to believe the other had millions of dollars in assets stacked offshore. “The forged documents were obtained by my former wife and her team at a time when the fraudsters were running away from the arms of the law. The fugitives took refuge at Turks and Caicos Islands in 2010 where they continued to dupe clients in an international scheme that involved bogus promises of offshore millions.
On April 10, 2013, the fraudsters Cullen and Elaine were extradited to the US from a Turks and Caicos prison on charges of money laundering, tax evasion and several charges of fraud valued at over US$1m. They have been indicted and jailed.
Abu Bekir told the court that his civil lawyers were now preparing a separate case against his former wife and her team for this act of fraud and forgery, and that investigation work was on-going.
Today’s hearing was for the continuation of Shahnaz’s demand of RM100 million as mutaah (conciliatory gift) from Abu Bekir.
Judge Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahab reminded the plaintiff and her counsels that any excuse to vacate a hearing should be heard and determined in court. Akberdin’s co-counsel Mohamad Rafie bin Mohd Shafie explained they had written to the court and communicated via telephone with the administration.
Correspondence by letter and communications by telephone to the court administration would not be entertained, the judge said. Shahnaz was also ticked off by the judge to remain quiet during court proceedings. In addition to the mutaah claim, Shanaz also filed a number of other claims amounting to RM300 million for matrimonial assets division, RM200 million for child maintenance to include a terrace house in London (RM60 million), two Aston Martins (RM5.5 million), a private trust fund (RM40 million to be held by her), including a claim for half of her former husband’s assets.