Saturday, January 22, 2022

Prosecution applies to stay dismissal of forfeiture bid on luxury items from Najib, Rosmah

The items, including handbags of various brands, 27 vehicles and cash of various currencies seized from Najib, Rosmah, their three children and five other respondents, are believed to be linked to 1MDB.

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The prosecution has filed an application to stay the High Court ruling on Nov 8 dismissing the government’s application to forfeit luxury items seized from former prime minister Najib Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor, their children and several others.

The items, including handbags of various brands, 27 vehicles and cash of various currencies seized from Najib, Rosmah, their three children and five other respondents, were allegedly linked to the 1MDB scandal.

The prosecution filed the notice of motion for the stay, together with a supporting affidavit, on Nov 24, naming Najib, Rosmah, Najib’s stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, their son Nor Ashman Razak, Senijauhar Sdn Bhd, Aiman ​​Ruslan, Goh Gaik Ewe, former Goldman Sachs bank officer Roger Ng Chong Hwa and wife Lim Hwee Bin as the first to ninth respondent, respectively.

Based on the supporting affidavit, deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong said that the High Court, had on Nov 8 dismissed the prosecution’s application to forfeit the gazetted properties and no order was given by judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan for the property to be returned to the claimant.

According to Ong, the application for the stay was made pending an appeal against the decision in the Court of Appeal which was filed on Nov 16.

He claimed that there were special circumstances that supported the applicant’s application for the stay order, among them that the status quo of the seized property should be maintained until the decision of the Court of Appeal to safeguard the interests of both parties, especially the applicant, in representing the Malaysian government.

“The seized property involves a large amount and is a public fund, so public interest can be preserved by allowing the application to stay the order.

“If this (stay) application is dismissed and the applicant succeeds in the appeal in the Court of Appeal, there is no guarantee that the applicant will recover the seized property because it is feared that the property will be disposed of by the respondent before the applicant’s appeal is heard by the Court of Appeal,” said Ong in the affidavit.

Ong, when met by Bernama after case management before High Court deputy registrar Catherine Nicholas today, said the court had set Jan 14, 2022 for the respondents to file their affidavits in reply.

He said the court also set Feb 17 for further case management.

In the Nov 8 decision, Zaini, in dismissing the government’s application to forfeit items seized from Najib, Rosmah, their children and several others, had allowed the government’s application to forfeit assets from eight other respondents because they did not object to the application.

The respondents were Mohd Kyizzad Mesran, Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, Yayasan Semesta, Yayasan Mustika Kasih, Rembulan Kembara Sdn Bhd and three former 1MDB officers who have absconded, Kee Kok Thiam, Tan Vern Tact and Geh Choh Hun.

On May 8, 2019, the Attorney-General’s Chambers filed a notice of motion to forfeit hundreds of items, allegedly linked to the 1MDB scandal, including handbags of various brands and 27 vehicles seized from Najib, Rosmah, their three children, including Nooryana Najwa, as well as 13 individuals and companies.

Among the items mentioned in the notice were handbags, shoes and watches of various brands, as well as cash in various currencies seized by the police on May 17, 2018, and June 11, 2018, as well as 27 vehicles seized on Aug 2, 2018, and a piece of land in Tanjung Bungah, Penang.

Also included was more than RM18 million in several bank accounts at Bank Islam Malaysia, Al-Rajhi Bank, Malayan Banking, CIMB Bank, RHB Bank, Public Bank, AmBank and Hong Leong Bank frozen between Aug 16, 2018, and March 11, 2019.

However, the Attorney-General’s Chambers allowed a representation by Nooryana Najwa for the return of items belonging to her, including handbags and shoes.

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