Ex-spy chief loses suit to challenge MACC on frozen bank account

Former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation chief Hasanah Ab Hamid.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today dismissed a lawsuit filed by former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) chief Hasanah Ab Hamid to challenge the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission‘s (MACC) action to freeze her bank account.

High Court judge Mohd Sofian Abd Razak struck off the suit on grounds the civil court has no power to hear any case arising from a criminal matter.

“The remedy she (Hasanah) has is to file a constitutional challenge at the criminal High Court so that the court can refer it to the apex court for hearing,” he said.

The court also ordered Hasanah to pay RM1,000 as cost.

Lawyer Shaharudin Ali, representing Hasanah, said he will seek her instructions on whether to appeal today’s decision or file another application at the criminal court.

Deputy public prosecutors Iskandar Ahmad, Ahmad Farid Ahmad Kama, and Muhamad Asyraf Md Kamal represented MACC.

They had earlier argued that the law forbids anyone to file civil suits to challenge MACC’s seizure over a property or money during the period the items are under the government’s custody.

They said that Hasanah’s account is still under MACC investigation.

Hasanah filed the suit in March to challenge MACC’s action to freeze her bank account last year. She sought a declaration that the order was null and void.

She claimed MACC never informed her of the order when she was remanded from Aug 29 to Sept 3 last year.

She said she sent letters to MACC, asking for the order to be lifted.

Hasanah said she depended fully on her pension funds, which were channelled through the frozen account.

She is accused of misappropriating RM50 million in government funds. If found guilty, she faces a fine and a jail term of between two and 20 years.

Hasanah’s trial is scheduled to start on Feb 3 next year.