Court yes to publish notice inviting ownership contest of items seized from Najib, others

The government seeks to forfeit hundreds of items seized from Najib Razak and 17 individuals and companies.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today allowed the government to publish an official notice calling on interested parties to contest ownership of items seized from Najib Razak and various individuals and companies after the May 9 polls.

Judge Zaini Mazlan issued the order sought by deputy public prosecutor Fatnin Yusof for the government to publish a federal gazette on Aug 30 in this regard.

Lawyers representing Najib and 15 individuals and companies earlier told the court they did not have any objection to the prosecution’s application.

Fatnin told the court that the prosecution could not find, and therefore serve the forfeiture lawsuit, on three individuals, namely Kee Kok Thiam, Tan Vern Tact, and Geh Choh Hun.

The three men are said to be linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, who is said to be the mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal.

Fatnin said the prosecution treated the three men as having absconded and therefore, under Section 63 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act or Amla, they could dispense with the service of a notice of the lawsuit.

Lawyer Farhan Shafee, representing Najib, asked the court if the prosecution could provide more details on the seized items.

“For example the prosecution said they seized 10 pair of watches but they did not provide details such as the colour or brand. They only said the watches were seized on particular dates.

“We hope the prosecution can provide details such as pictures and where they were found to us,” he told the court.

Zaini told the prosecution to consider the request of the lawyer.

The government seeks to forfeit hundreds of items seized from the former prime minister and 17 individuals and companies after Pakatan Harapan took over the government on May 9, 2018.

Among the individuals named in the forfeiture lawsuit are Rosmah Mansor, Riza Aziz, Najib’s children, former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng and Low’s mother Goh Gaik Ewe.

The items seized include luxury handbags, cash in different currencies, watches, shoes and 27 vehicles.

Besides that, a sum of RM18 million in various bank accounts and a bungalow belonging to Low’s family in Tanjung Bungah have been seized.

The government sought a court order to publish a notice under Amla, and to summon any third party who claims to have any interest in the property to come before the court on the date specified in the notice to show cause as to why the property shall not be forfeited by the government.