Bandar Seri Begawan - The High Court yesterday sentenced an Istana Office employee and his acquaintance to serve jail terms after they pleaded guilty to forging an official Istana Nurul Iman letter with the intention of cheating.
Ak Ya'akub bin Pg Abu Bakar, 40, received a two-year imprisonment term while Rahimah binti Niman received a 20-month jail term.
Ak Ya'akub had been employed by the palace office for 18 years and Rahimah worked as an auditor with the Ministry of Defence.
Together they forged a letter written on an official Istana Nurul Iman letter complete with letterhead dated February 21, 2012, which was purported to be written by Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Dato Seri Paduka Hj Awg Mohd Nawawi bin Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Hj Awg Mohd Taha to be sent to the Secretary of the Islamic Council stating that Ak Ya'akub bin Pg Abu Bakar was entitled to 'Zakat Asnaf' for the sum of B$140,000.
As stated before Justice Dato Paduka Steven Chong, Ak Ya'akub took five sheets of letters and two envelopes bearing the logo 'Istana Nurul Iman, Negara Brunei Darussalam' from the general office of Yang Berhormat Pehin Dato Seri Paduka Hj Awg Mohd Nawawi, the confidential secretary to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, sometime in February 2012.
Ak Ya'akub then drafted a letter by hand, and sometime between the dates of February 6 and 10, Ak Ya'akub - at his residence in Kg Lambak Kanan - passed the letter over to Rahimah to type.
Rahimah took the draft letter along with the Istana Nurul Iman letterhead and brought it home, where she drafted the letter and printed the letter on the letterhead on her brother's computer.
The forged letter stated that Ak Ya'akub's application for the B$140,000 sum, which was to be used for paying off his debts, daily expenses and to cover medical treatment in India, had been approved.
Rahimah stated that Ak Ya'akub had asked her to forge Yang Berhormat Pehin Dato Hj Nawawi's signature as his application has been approved. Rahimah agreed to this.
Sometime between February 27 and early March, Rahimah then passed the forged letter to Ak Ya'kuub, who then asked Dato Bakar at the Istana Nurul Iman to type the recipient of the letter - the Secretary of the Islamic Religious Council - on the envelope bearing the logo of Istana Nurul Iman.
Ak Ya'akub told Dato Bakar that it had been requested by someone from the Istana Nurul Iman.
On March 25, Ak Ya'akub presented the forged letter and supporting documentation to a religious officer attending a Quran recitation ceremony at Istana Nurul Iman and requested the officer to submit the letter to the Brunei Islamic Religious Council.
The religious officer complied and forwarded the letter to the Secretary of the Islamic Religious Council.
On April 5, Ak Ya'akub was called into the office of Yang Berhormat Pehin Dato Seri Paduka Hj Awg Mohd Nawawi to discuss the letter that was purported to have been signed by him, and Ak Ya'akub immediately admitted that the letter was a forgery
Ak Ya'akub position at the Istana Nurul Iman was terminated following the discussion.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Pg Jasmine Pg Hj Bahrin prosecuted the case.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin