Federal Court to hear on Feb 7 appeals over 1MDB-related forfeiture

Federal Court to hear on Feb 7 appeals over 1MDB-related forfeiture
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PUTRAJAYA (Oct 18): The Federal Court on Tuesday (Oct 18) fixed Feb 7 next year to hear the prosecution’s appeals over their failed forfeiture bids against several companies and entities, including political parties like Umno and MCA, in relation to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds received from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The matter came up for case management before Federal Court deputy registrar Siti Hajar Mustaffa on Tuesday, who fixed the date of the hearing.

The prosecution is appealing after failed forfeiture against Habib Jewels Sdn Bhd, Hattatex Trading, Wanita MCA, Umno Central, the Umno Pahang Liaison Committee, Kedah Umno Liaison Committee, incumbent Baling Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abd Rahim and three others, K&Z Enterprise Sdn Bhd and Perano Sdn Bhd.

Habib Jewels was represented by Gooi Yang Shuh and Syazwani Mohd Zawawi appeared for Central Umno, while the prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutor Nik Haslinie Hashim.

This is the final appeal by the prosecution in their forfeiture applications.

Last Sept 2, the Court of Appeal dismissed the prosecution’s appeal, where it ruled that the forfeiture action against the political parties and others did not satisfy the requirements under Section 56 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 with regard to forfeiture of property when there is no prosecution.

Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, who was part of a three-judge bench led by Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, said there were "no good reasons to disturb the finding of facts that the present forfeiture [of funds] the prosecution seeks is not from the proceeds of unlawful activities".

“The money had all been used up, and the business entities had no knowledge that the monies came from unlawful activities of Najib. It is most unfair for the court to allow the appeal for the services or items sold.

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

The same bench, which also included Datuk Abu Bakar Jais, however, allowed the appeal by Umno Pahang, which challenged the forfeiture of RM2.48 million, resulting in the appeal in the apex court.

The prosecution wanted to forfeit RM192 million from Central Umno, RM300,000 from Wanita MCA, and RM1.05 million from Umno Kedah, followed by business entities such as Habib Jewels (RM100,000), K&Z Enterprise (RM138,359.60), Perano (RM337,634.78), Binsabi Sdn Bhd (RM827,25), and Hatatex Trading (RM111,590).

They were among the 40 organisations and entities that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) wanted to forfeit funds from since the bulk of the funds were from Umno.

The MACC initiated the forfeiture in 2019, as they were alleged to have received the funds from Najib, and that the money trail originated from the former PM.

Najib is presently serving a 12-year jail sentence, after the Federal Court upheld his conviction for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case. SRC is a former subsidiary of 1MDB. He was also given a RM210 million fine.

Read also:
Court of Appeal dismisses prosecution's eight appeals for forfeiture including RM192 million from central Umno
How much money MACC is claiming from each of the 41 respondents in its civil forfeiture suit

Lam Jian Wyn