Court orders Umno, 6 others to respond to govt’s forfeiture suits

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has ordered Umno and six others to respond to the government’s forfeiture suits against them by July 25.

Judge Zaini Mazlan made the order when the seven cases came up for mention today.

“All respondents need to file their affidavits in reply to the prosecution’s applications by July 25,” he said.

The prosecution meanwhile was told to file its reply to the seven suits by Aug 15.

The court also set July 29 for the next case mention of the seven suits.

The government is seeking the forfeiture of over RM216 million from Umno, late Umno MP Abdul Manan Ismail, former minister Hasan Malek, Wanita MCA, Sabah Umno and two companies, Binsara Sdn Bhd and Perano Sdn Bhd.

Umno is said to be the biggest recipient of the funds, allegedly receiving over RM212 million.

In their suits, the government claimed the money given to these individuals and organisations was funds from illegal activities as defined under Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

Deputy public prosecutor Kamal Baharin Omar told the court that the prosecution is seeking to publish a gazette to call interested parties to contest the seized money.

There was no objection to this from the lawyers representing the seven individuals and organisations.

Zaini then said the prosecution is allowed to prepare a national gazette by Aug 28.

Kamal also said the prosecution is seeking to amend the suit against Manan, who died in February last year.

“We want to substitute the claim with his wife’s name as estate,” he said.

Manan’s widow, Rohizah Ahmad, was present in court today. The government is seeking the forfeiture of over RM265,000 deposited into the late Paya Besar MP’s account.

The court set July 4 for case mention.

Last week, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said the agency had filed 41 forfeiture lawsuits against various individuals and organisations over funds allegedly channelled from former prime minister Najib Razak’s bank account.

The government is seeking to recover a total of RM270 million.