KOTA KINABALU—A Malaysian man accused of cheating 15,000 people in a massive pyramid scheme in the Philippines has been jailed for two years by the Magistrate’s Court here.
Businessman Mohammad Kamal Sa’ad, 47, who is known in the Philippines as Manuel Karingal Amalilio, pleaded guilty on Monday after being charged under Section 12(1) (d) of the Passport Act 1966, which provides a fine of up to 10,000 Malaysian ringgits (about P132,000) or jail terms of up to five years or both.
According to the facts of the case tendered by prosecuting officer Insp. Azwal Azman, Mohammad Kamal was found to be in possession of a Philippine passport under the name of Manuel Karingal Amalilio on Jan. 25, at about 5.30 p.m. at the departure hall of Terminal 2, Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) here.
He was charged before Magistrate Nuruhuda Mohd Yusof at the male medical ward of the Queen Elizabeth hospital here where he is undergoing treatment for a liver ailment.
A police team also found on Mohammad Kamal a MyKad identity card bearing his name.
Further police investigations found that he had fraudulently obtained the Philippine passport.
In seeking a lighter sentence for his client, counsel Hairul V. Othman said Mohammad Kamal was a first-time offender who was remorseful of his actions.
Comply with procedures
Earlier, Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said Malaysia was willing to hand over Mohammad Kamal, who is wanted by Philippine authorities.
Hamza said proper procedures under Asean’s Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2002 had to be complied with before they could hand over Amalilio.
He said police received an application from the Philippine government to pick up Mohammad Kamal but this had to be rejected as they had not gone through the procedure according to the Act.
The application letter has to go through the Philippine justice secretary and the Department of Foreign Affairs before it is handed over to Malaysia’s foreign ministry, attorney general and police, he said.
Mohammad Kamal is alleged to have operated a company called Aman Futures Group in the Philippines. He claimed to be a nephew of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman, while luring thousands of Filipino investors into his investment scheme offering 67 percent in returns.
He fled the Philippines for Sabah last November immediately after President Aquino ordered his arrest as over 15,000 investors were cheated of around P12 billion (RM895 million) under the scam.
Musa was quoted in an online news report as saying that Mohammad Kamal was a “distant relative” but this should not be a hindrance for any action against him.
He said the Sabah government did not and would not intervene in this matter.