Malaysia's former spy chief accused of using $16.5m govt funds on luxury watches

Hasanah Abdul Hamid (centre) was former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation.
Hasanah Abdul Hamid (centre) was former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation.PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's former spy chief, who is on trial for criminal breach of trust (CBT), spent US$12.1 million (S$16.5 million) to buy six luxury watches using funds contributed to the government, public prosecutors said on Tuesday (Oct 6) at the start of her trial.

In their opening statement, prosecutors said they will adduce evidence to show that Hasanah Abdul Hamid had misappropriated the sum under her purview as a public servant, local media reported.

Hasanah, 62, was former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO).

The unit that she led was also called the Research Division of the Prime Minister's Department.

"The prosecution will submit testimonies that the accused, at the material time in her capacity as director-general of the Research Division of the Prime Minister's Department, had received contributions amounting to US$12.1 million" from an external party, deputy public prosecutor Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad was quoted as saying by Malay Mail online news.

"Testimonies will also show how the accused misappropriated the funds by instructing her officers to make six luxury watches purchases, made payments to third parties and transported the remaining monies out without handing them over to the division nor the government."

DPP Iskandar said testimonies will show that the sum of money was provided for a "special purpose" but that the accused failed to carry this out.

Hasanah on Oct 25, 2018, pleaded not guilty to a charge of committing CBT amounting to US$12.1 million, or RM50.4 million, in funds belonging to the government when serving as the director-general of the PMD's Research Division.

She was charged with committing the offence at the office of the Research Division in Putrajaya between April 30, 2018, and May 9, 2018.

Hasanah was also charged under the Penal Code, which provides for a maximum of 20 years' jail and whipping if found guilty.

The High Court on Tuesday allowed the prosecution's application to have 11 of its 37 witnesses in the trial to testify in camera - out of the public eye - Bernama news agency reported.


Judicial commissioner Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh said he allowed the application in the interest of national security.

"The prosecution would be exposing national security matters to public gaze and extensive media coverage should the evidence of the 11 prospective witnesses be taken in open court," he said, as quoted by Bernama.