Four respondents launch fight against Putrajaya’s bid to forfeit 1MDB-linked assets

Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam (left) is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court July 4, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam (left) is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court July 4, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 — Four out of nine individuals and entities formally objected to the government’s forfeiture lawsuit against them to recover 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) monies when the matter came up in the High Court for the first time today.

The four were Sarawak businessman Tan Sri Bustari Yusuf, Jakel Trading, Yayasan PBAKM and Media Edge CIA Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

Lawyer Datuk Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, representing Bustari, objected to the forfeiture bid by claiming that the government used the wrong mode to file the lawsuit.

He argued that the matter should be heard by the court before any notice could be published to allow third parties with interest in the money to contest the forfeiture.

“We will be challenging the mode of commencement of the facts disputed in the present case and we reserve the right to present our objection via affidavit or otherwise,” he said.

High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah then informed them that the court has set September 4 for the next case mention.

Lawyer Habizan Rahman representing Jakel Trading is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court July 4, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Lawyer Habizan Rahman representing Jakel Trading is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court July 4, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Lawyers Habizan Rahman representing Jakel Trading, Guok Ngek Seong representing Media Edge and Adaly Ab. Manas representing Yayasan PBAKM also informed the court they took a similar stance to Kamarul.

The court then fixed September 30 for submissions for Bustari, Jakel and Yayasan PBAKM; and October 1 to hear the arguments from Media Edge.

The government is seeking to forfeit over RM26.2 million from Bustari, Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam, Jakel Trading, Media Edge, Sabah Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Yayasan Permata Malaysia, Yayasan PBAKM, Selangor Umno Liaison Committee and Johor Umno Liaison Committee.

According to the nine lawsuits, Bustari received around RM11.9 million, RM628,314 for Jakel Trading, RM4,601,602 for Media Edge and RM100,000 for Yayasan PBAKM of the total RM270 million allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.

The breakdown of the rest of forfeiture lawsuit are: RM100,000 from Kasitah; RM509,560.96 from LDP; RM4,901,308.21 from Yayasan Permata; RM2,738,525.08 from Selangor Umno; and RM677.872.55 from Johor Umno.

Kasitah, who was formerly land and co-operative development minister, was also present in court.

Yayasan Permata Malaysia secretary Datuk Saidatul Akhma Hassan is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court July 4, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Yayasan Permata Malaysia secretary Datuk Saidatul Akhma Hassan is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court July 4, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Deputy public prosecutor Nik Haslinie Hassim also notified the court that they were additionally seeking to publish a notice in the Gazette to call upon interested parties to contest the seized money.

Sequerah then fixed September 4 for the prosecution to prepare a national Gazette two months from today.

In the forfeiture action, the federal government is seeking to forfeit properties and monies that was dispersed or misused from 1MDB.

These funds were purportedly disbursed via an Ambank account opened under the name of former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The lawsuit was filed against 41 recipients including political parties such as Umno and MCA under Section 56 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA).

The entities or individuals named may challenge the forfeiture suit in court by filing their notice of appearance and respective affidavits to convince the court that the civil forfeiture action should not be allowed.

On June 25, the High Court also ordered Umno and six others to respond to the government’s forfeiture lawsuit against them by filling their respective affidavits.

The six respondents are former domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek; the late Paya Besar MP Datuk Seri Abdul Manan Ismail; Wanita MCA; Sabah Umno Liaison Committee; and two companies, Binsara Sdn Bhd and Perano Sdn Bhd.

Another seven new respondents are expected to appear before the High Court at 9am tomorrow for the mention of their cases.

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