The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today failed in its bid to forfeit RM700,000, allegedly linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, seized from Pekan Umno.
High Court judicial commissioner Datuk Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh today dismissed the MACC’s forfeiture application against Pekan Umno, which was named as first respondent, and 40 other respondents.
In his judgment, Ahmad Shahrir said the court found that on the balance of probabilities, the applicant (MACC) had not succeeded in providing the requirements under Section 56 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) to have the sum of RM700,000 in the first respondent’s (Pekan Umno) account forfeited.
“Forfeiture proceedings require strict adherence to the law as it touches on the constitutional guarantee under Article 13 of the Federal Constitution.
“Nothing less would suffice. In the circumstances, I hereby dismiss the application,” he said.
The commissioner also said that in all probability, if the court were to accept the applicant’s position that the money, which was seized on June 25, 2018, was the proceeds of an unlawful activity, the fact that the account balance was only slightly more than RM10,000 as of Jan 31, 2017, effectively negates such a supposition.
“Furthermore, the applicant made no attempt to traverse this specific averment by the respondents and I am constrained to find that the applicant had thereby admitted to such facts.
“Thus, I find that the applicant has failed to prove on the balance of probabilities that the seized sum of RM700,000 is the proceeds of an unlawful activity,” he said.
Ahmad Shahrir said it was not so much that the RM700,000 received from the impugned accounts of Datuk Seri Najib Razak had been spent by Pekan Umno, but more importantly, that the applicant had failed to show that the sum of money which was frozen, came from the fourth account as contended by the respondents.
“This is evident on a perusal of the respective account numbers for the first account and the fourth account,” he said.
The commissioner said the respondents contended that the RM700,000 was fully utilised to defray expenses for utilities, the purchase of equipment and other payments, for the first respondent; and that the account balance appearing in the account of the first respondent on the date the freezing order was served did not originate from the impugned accounts of Najib.
Deputy public prosecutor from the MACC, Abdul Rashid Sulaiman, later told the press that they will file an appeal over today’s decision.
Counsel Datuk M. Reza Hassan acted for Pekan Umno. – Bernama