PUTRAJAYA: The prosecution failed in its appeal in the Federal Court to forfeit monies and properties valued at more than RM37 million from Bintulu Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and eight other respondents in relation to the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.
A three-member bench comprising Federal Court judges Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Datuk Seri Hasnah Mohammed Hashim dismissed the prosecution’s appeal.
The court’s verdict was delivered by Justice Hasnah, who said that after reading the affidavit in its entirety, the Federal Court agreed with the Court of Appeal that the prosecution failed to identify the nature and extent of participation of the respondents in money laundering activities to procure the properties.
She said the evidence that was adduced through the affidavit was hearsay evidence and there was no documentary evidence that the properties were acquired through an illegal activity.
“We are satisfied that the appeal has no merits,“ Justice Hasnah said, adding that the decision of the Court of Appeal is affirmed.
The court’s decision today was on the prosecution’s appeal against the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of its bid to forfeit monies and properties worth more than RM37 million owned by the respondents, namely Tiong, Law Ka Hing and seven companies.
The companies are Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB), Transshipment Megahub Berhad, Coastal Skyline Sdn Bhd, Wijaya Baru Aviation Sdn Bhd, Wijaya Baru Sdn Bhd, Wijaya Baru Construction Sdn Bhd and the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS).
On Nov 23, 2010, the prosecution applied in the High Court to forfeit the monies and properties under section 56 (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing 2001 (AMLATFA) on the basis that the said monies and properties had been obtained as a result of or in connection with an offence under subsection 4 (1) of the AMLATFA.
Section 4 (1) of AMLATFA states that any person who engages in, or attempts to engage in or abets the commission of money laundering commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to fine or jail or both.
Among the properties sought to be forfeited were monies in bank accounts, six bankers cheques and two pieces of land.
The High Court on Nov 4, 2011 dismissed the prosecution’s forfeiture application and ordered that the monies and properties be released to the respondents.
The court proceedings today were conducted via Zoom.
In her decision, Justice Hasnah also said the affidavit merely described the money trail, in particular the movement of monies from KDSB to various other accounts.
She said in the instant appeal, the prosecution failed to prove the case on the balance of probabilities to satisfy that all the essential requirements as provided under Section 56 of AMLATFA had been established.
She said on the contrary, the respondents, through their affidavits-in-reply, explained in detail and adduced sufficient documents to justify the manner the properties were procured.
The prosecution had contended that the monies and properties of the respondents in question were procured in connection with the commission of a series of offences of criminal breach of trust and cheating preferred against former general manager of Port Klang Authority Datin Paduka O.C. Phang, KDSB chief operating officer Stephen Abok, architect Bernard Tan Seng Swee and former KDSB project manager Law Jenn Dong.
The prosecution had, however, withdrawn its case against Phang in 2016 while the Sessions Court had in March 2017 acquitted and discharged Law, Tan and Abok.
Laywer Datuk Prem Ramachandran appeared for Tiong, Law, KDSB, Transshipment Megahub, Coastal Skyline, Wijaya Baru Aviation, Wijaya Baru and Wijaya Baru Construction while lawyer Shamsul Sulaiman for PKNS.
Appearing for the prosecution were deputy public prosecutors Faizah Mohd Salleh, Nahra Dollah, Hanim Mohd Rashid and Allan Suman Pillai. — Bernama