Rosmah will incriminate herself if she reveals assets, says lawyer

Rosmah Mansor faces 12 counts of money laundering involving about RM7 million.

KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor will be denied her constitutional right to a fair trial if forced to declare where she obtained funds to acquire properties, the High Court heard today.

Her lawyer, Rajivan Nambiar, said Rosmah’s right could be limited but it did not mean the provisions in the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amla) could be used to persecute her.

“She can remain silent so as not to incriminate herself,” the counsel said in his submission.

On Feb 24, the wife of former prime minister Najib Razak filed an application to strike out a notice issued by the public prosecutor on Nov 1 last year to compel her to declare all her assets under section 49 of Amla.

Failure to comply with the notice is an offence and punishable by a maximum RM3 million fine or up to five year’s jail or both upon conviction.

On Oct 4 last year, Rosmah pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to 12 counts of money laundering involving about RM7 million.

The offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank Berhad on Jalan Ampang here between December 2013 and June 2017.

Rosmah was also slapped with five counts for failing to declare her income between 2013 and 2017 to the Inland Revenue Board.

The offences were allegedly committed at the Inland Revenue Board at Kompleks Bangunan Kerajaan on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here between May 2014 and May last 2018.

Rajivan said asking Rosmah to declare her assets after she was charged was highly prejudicial.

“The prosecution wants to get information from the defence before her trial starts,” he said.

Another lawyer in Rosmah’s legal team, Redza Rahim, submitted that the prosecution was resorting to coercion and oppression to get information against her.

However, lawyer Gopal Sri Ram, who is acting as deputy public prosecutor, said the reliance of Section 49 of Amla was a pre-trial provision.

“This is a special law designed to combat money laundering. Only the applicant (Rosmah) has personal knowledge on the source for the funds to acquire the properties,” he said.

Sri Ram, who is also a former Federal Court judge, said the provision was not discriminatory as it was a proportionate response to the harm it was seeking to address.

“Otherwise, the offence of money laundering will not be discovered,” he said, adding that Article 5(1) did not guarantee a fair investigation but only fair trial.

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan will deliver his ruling on May 24.