Court of Appeal upholds High Court decision to dismiss RM192.9m forfeiture suit against Umno, Wanita MCA and seven others

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court August 23, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court August 23, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 —  The prosecution failed today to convince the Court of Appeal to overturn the High Court’s decision to dismiss the government’s forfeiture of RM192.9 million against Umno, Wanita MCA and seven others.

This means the parties can keep the RM192.9 million they received from Datuk Seri Najib Razak that had been claimed to be from sovereign investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, who was one was of the three judges in the Court of Appeal, said High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan did not err in his judgment to dismiss the forfeiture suit by the government.

She said the prosecution failed to prove that the money came from 1MDB.

“The respondents had no knowledge, no reason to suspect the monies they received from Datuk Seri Najib were proceeds from unlawful activities.

“The learned trial judge found that it is most unfair to keep the respondent’s monies in the absence of proof by the prosecution that the monies were proceeds of unlawful activities hence the high court judge dismissed the prosecution application.

“We find the High Court judge did not commit any error in law that warrants an appellate intervention. We affirm the order of the High Court,” she said.

The three-panel judge was led by Datuk Karim Abdul Jalil. Datuk Abu Bakar Jais was the third judge.

In a separate appeal, the Court of Appeal allowed the Pahang Umno liaison committee to challenge the High Court forfeiture order of RM2.48 million of its funds.

The money had been part of the haul totalling RM270 million that had been seized by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in its civil forfeiture suit against 41 people and entities, including Umno.

Hadhariah said the High Court had erred when it gave the forfeiture order as the monies had been spent and were no longer available to be seized. She added that the Pahang Umno liaison committee’s present funds were judged to be from lawful means.

On June 19, the High Court had dismissed the government’s application to forfeit RM192,965,413.61 belonging to Umno; Wanita MCA (RM300,000); Perano, a company that sells hijabs, and Binsabi Sdn Bhd which supplies tents, involved RM337,634.78 and RM827,250 respectively; Habib Jewels Sdn Bhd (RM100,000); K&Z Enterprise Sdn Bhd (RM138,359.60); Kedah Umno Liaison Committee (RM1.05 million) and Hattatex Trading (RM111,590).

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