KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today dismissed the government’s bid to forfeit luxury items seized from Najib Razak, Rosmah Mansor and their children by police after the 2018 general election.
Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had failed to prove that the items, on balance of probability, were bought using 1MDB funds.
“It is insufficient for the investigation officer to only set out in his affidavit movement of money into and out from the former prime minister’s accounts.
“No doubt there were huge amounts entering into his (Najib) accounts and flowed out but the court cannot find guilt based on suspicion,” he said.
The government wanted to forfeit hundreds of items seized from Najib, Rosmah and 16 individuals and companies.
These include handbags, cash in different currencies, watches, shoes and 27 vehicles.
In his judgment, Zaini said the prosecution did not show the luxury items were bought using money in Najib’s bank accounts.
“In fact, the applicant (government) admitted some of the seized items were gifts.
“They merely listed down the properties seized and their value and, in turn, concluded that the respondents (Najib, Rosmah and their children) did not have the means to own such items based on their income.
“It is apparent that the investigating officer came to this conclusion based on his presumption. This is insufficient as they need to credibly prove a direct link between the money that was gained illegally to the cash found as well as the items bought,” he said.
Deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong informed the court that they will appeal against the ruling.
Meanwhile, government has failed to take control of a bungalow belonging to the family of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low.
High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan today rejected the government’s bid to forfeit the RM15 million three-storey bungalow at Tanjung Bungah Park, Penang, as well as money kept in three Hong Leong bank accounts.
“The applicant (government) had merely shown monies credited into the three bank accounts but did not provide any proof how these bank accounts were related to or used to the commission of unlawful activities.
“The relationship between the 13th respondent (Low’s mother Goh Gaik Ewe) and the characters and entities in 1MDB was conspicuously missing.
“I would also add that there were many glaring discrepancies in the investigating officer’s affidavit that were never corrected or explained,” he said.
The government had seized Low’s family home in 2019. It was reported that the property was registered under Goh’s name.
It then filed a forfeiture application, seeking to take control of the bungalow.
Goh and her husband, Larry Low Hock Peng, have been named by Bukit Aman as persons of interest in connection with the 1MDB investigations.
Besides Goh, 17 others named in the government’s forfeiture bid were Najib Razak, Rosmah Mansor, Riza Aziz, Nor Ashman Najib, Nooryana Najwa Najib, Mohd Kyizzad Mesran, Senijauhar Sdn Bhd, Aiman Ruslan, Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, Yayasan Semesta, Yayasan Mustika Kasih, Rembulan Kembara Sdn Bhd, Roger Ng, Lim Hwee Bin, Kee Kok Thiam, Tan Vern Tact and Geh Choh Hun.
On the government’s bid to forfeit RM1.88 million kept in seven bank accounts belonging to former Goldman Sachs banker Ng and his wife Lim, Zaini said the prosecution did not provide evidence that the monies were linked to any illegal transactions.
“I am inclined to agree with their counsel and, therefore, dismiss this application,” he said
Zaini allowed the government’s application to forfeit items seized from Kyizzad, Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, Yayasan Semesta, Yayasan Mustika Kasih, Rembulan Kembara, Kee, Tan and Geh as they had never responded.
By : Ho Kit Yen – FMT