Govt fails to forfeit over RM1 mil from Kedah Umno, Habib Jewels

Habib Jewels made a legitimate business transaction with Najib Razak, the High Court rules today. (Habib Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today dismissed the government’s applications to forfeit a sum of RM1.15 million from jewelers Habib Jewels and Kedah Umno, for allegedly receiving 1MDB-linked funds from Najib Razak.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali dismissed the forfeiture bid saying the prosecution failed to prove their civil forfeiture cases against the two entities on balance of probability.

He said the RM1.05 million the prosecution was seeking to forfeit from Kedah Umno cannot be said as part of some RM15 million given by Najib to the state party chapter in 2012 and 2013.

“The evidence showed that until June 2013, the balance in the account was only about RM1.4 million.

“The balance had over time dropped to only RM58,000 in January 2017. Subsequently in 2018, four months before the general election, a sum of RM27 million was deposited into their account and at the same time RM26 million was paid out.

“In short, it cannot be said that RM1.05 million that the deputy public prosecutor wanted to forfeit was part of the RM15 million,” Nazlan said, adding that the bulk of the RM15 million that Umno Kedah received was no longer in the account.

On Habib Jewels, the judge said that the company showed that the sale of their goods to Najib on June 23, 2014 was done in good faith by providing the relevant receipts.

“There was no reason for the company to believe that the money from Najib came from unlawful activities,” Nazlan said.

Lawyers G Nadaraja represented Kedah Umno, while Khoo Guan Huat represented Habib Jewels. Deputy public prosecutors Allan Suman Pillai and Abdul Rashid Sulaiman acted for the government.

In a separate court, the government won its bid to forfeit RM407,011.46 from Yayasan Penyelidikan Transformasi.

Deputy public prosecutor Farah Yasmin Salleh told High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin that they received a letter from the organisation on July 9, agreeing to hand over the money.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is seeking to recover RM270 million from 41 individuals and organisations in funds allegedly channelled from Najib’s bank account.