KUALA LUMPUR: A Datuk Seri and a single mother were sentenced to 15 months jail and fined RM24,000 by the Sessions Court today for cheating eight people in a Kelantan datukship scam.
Judge Hasbullah Adam sentenced Datuk Seri Saharuddin Awang Yahya, 55, and Norzihan Zainal Abidin, 56, after they were found guilty of eight counts of duping the victims into forking out a total of RM735,000 for the fake datuk titles.
“The court finds that both accused have failed to raise a reasonable doubt in the defence’s case and therefore both of them are convicted of the eight charges,” the judge said.
The court sentenced the duo to 15 months jail and RM3,000 fine for each count and ordered for their jail term to run concurrently from the date of sentencing today.
The judge also ordered them to serve six months jail if they failed to pay the fines.
Saharuddin who was wheelchair bound and Norzihan were charged with deceiving eight people into believing that they could get the honorific titles which led to the victims handing over money between RM60,000 and RM120,000.
They were accused of conning the victims at an office premise at Bandar Baru Ampang, Ampang, and Laman Rimbunan, Kepong, between March, 2014 and February, 2015, the same year.
In pleading for leniency, counsel Datuk Amirul Ridzuan Hanif and Shah Rizal Abdul Manan who represented Saharuddin and Norzihan respectively said their clients are suffering from several diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Deputy public prosecutors Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim and Faridah Nurdinie Bahrum however urged the court to impose a deterrent sentence saying that mocking the royal institution was a serious offence.
The court however allowed both the accused a stay of execution pending an appeal and maintained their RM80,000 bail.