EMPLOYERS STAND BY MAID CONVICTED OF STEALING FROM THEM:
Nothing missing in years she was with us
OUT ON BAIL: Aam was sentenced to six months jail. She is now out on bail of $12,000. ST FILE PICTURE
THEY stood by their maid when she was accused of stealing almost $190,000 from them.
The employers, Madam Susanti Handayani Handajuwana and her husband, posted bail of $8,000 and even paid for a lawyer to defend her at her trial. Aam Usup, 46, an Indonesian, was convicted and jailed six months on one charge of theft.
She is now out on bail of $12,000 and is holding a special pass pending an appeal against her conviction and sentence. It will be heard next month.
Aam was alleged to have stolen two safes from her employers on New Year's Day last year, when they were abroad on vacation.
One of the safes was empty while the other contained cash, jewellery and watches amounting to about $187,500.
Take advantage of their trust
Aam lived with Madam Susanti's family at the upscale Ardmore Park condominium in the Orchard Road area.
She was allegedly helped by her friend, Sri Sunarti Mulyo Sutarno, 28, an Indonesian maid who was employed by a Korean family living in the same condo.
The two maids met regularly when they went to wash their employers' cars at the condo's basement carpark.
The court heard that shortly after her arrest, Sri Sunarti admitted her involvement in the theft to the police.
She also fingered Aam as the person who had helped her move the two safes from Madam Susanti's sixth floor unit to her employer's unit on the seventh floor.
But Aam denied her involvement in the theft and went on trial.
Madam Susanti and her husband engaged lawyer Anand Nalachandran to defend Aam.
After a 13-day hearing, the judge ruled that Aam had taken advantage of her employers' trust to commit the theft with Sri Sunarti.
Madam Susanti, who was originally from Indonesia, was one of the prosecution witnesses.
She told the court that when she moved here in 1998, she took Aam along to work as her maid. The family moved into Ardmore Park in 2001. The apartment came with a white safe, which was in the cupboard in the master bedroom.
Madam Susanti told the court that she did not know how to open the safe. So, her husband bought her another safe, which was bigger and brown in colour.
She had told Aam that the white safe was empty and Madam Susanti said she believed Aam knew that she kept her cash, jewellery and other valuables in the brown safe.
Madam Susanti told the court how her husband had absent-mindedly left US$10,000 ($14,500) on the study room table just before they left for the US.
When he remembered, the couple called Aam to look for it and told her to keep it safely.
By the time they returned from their holiday, Aam had already been arrested. But Madam Susanti checked the drawer and found the money there.
Madam Susanti said she had always been able to find her valuables and that not a single item had gone missing in the years that Aam was working for her.
She said she and her husband have often left cash, valuables and their handphones lying around the house.
Whenever Aam came across them, she would keep them and hand them to Madam Susanti when she returned.
Aam even knew where the $8,000 hongbao money belonging to Madam Susanti's daughter was kept, but the money remained intact.
Madam Susanti said that sometimes, when she was travelling and could not locate her jewellery, she would call Aam and ask her to look for them.
Aam never failed to find her jewellery and would keep them safely till she returned.
Madam Susanti described Aam as a simple person who was naive and 'not very smart'. She added that Aam was not capable of scheming and hatching a plan to steal.
Madam Susanti and her family went to Los Angeles on 1 Jan last year and were to return on 6 Jan.
While they were there, a police officer called her on her handphone to inform her about the theft and Aam's arrest.
Aam has two daughters, who are both married, and three grandchildren back in Indonesia. Her husband has since died.
For theft, Aam could have been jailed seven years and fined.
The Electric New Paper, Singapore - The Electric New Paper News