MACC’s bid to forfeit RM700,000 from Pekan Umno rejected

The Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed MACC’s forfeiture application against Pekan Umno and 40 other respondents today.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has failed in its bid to forfeit RM700,000 allegedly linked to the 1MDB scandal, that was seized from Pekan Umno.

High Court judicial commissioner Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh dismissed the anti-graft agency’s forfeiture application against Pekan Umno, who was named as first respondent, and 40 other respondents today.

In his judgment, Shahrir said the court found that on the balance of probabilities, MACC had not succeeded in providing the requirements under Section 56 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act to have the RM700,000 in Pekan Umno’s account forfeited.

“Forfeiture proceedings require strict adherence to the law as it touched on the constitutional guarantee under Article 13 of the Federal Constitution,” he said.

“Nothing less would suffice. Under the circumstances, I hereby dismiss the application.”

He said in all probability, if the court were to accept the applicant’s position that the money, which was seized on June 25, 2018, was the proceeds of unlawful activity, the fact that the account balance was only slightly more than RM10,000 as of Jan 31, 2017, effectively negated such a supposition.

“Furthermore, the applicant made no attempt to traverse this specific averment by the respondents and I am constrained to find that the applicant had thereby admitted to such facts,” he said.

“Thus, I find that the applicant has failed to prove on the balance of probabilities that the seized sum of RM700,000 is the proceeds of unlawful activity.”

Shahrir said it was not much about the fact that the RM700,000 received from the impugned accounts of former prime minister Najib Razak had been spent by Pekan Umno, but more importantly, the failure of the applicant to show that the sum of money, which was frozen, was from the fourth account as contended by the respondents.

“This is evident on a perusal of the respective account numbers for the first account and the fourth account,” he said.

He said the respondents contended that the RM700,000 was fully utilised to defray expenses for utilities, purchase of equipment and other payments for the first respondent and that the account balance appearing in the account of the first respondent on the date the freezing order was served did not originate from the impugned accounts of Najib.

Deputy public prosecutor from MACC, Abdul Rashid Sulaiman, later told the press that they would file an appeal over today’s decision.

Counsel M Reza Hassan acted for Pekan Umno.