Sept 30 decision on prosecution appeal over dismissal of forfeiture bid against individuals, companies

30 Jun 2020 / 17:25 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today fixed Sept 30 to deliver its decision in the prosecution’s appeal against the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of its bid to forfeit monies and properties valued at more than RM37 million owned by two individuals and seven companies that managed the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

A three-member bench led by Federal Court judge Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat set the date after the court completed hearing submissions from lawyers and deputy public prosecutors representing the parties in the appeal.

Justice Ong deferred the court’s decision as he said there were many documents which they need to refer to.

The other two judges presiding were Federal Court judges Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Datuk Hasnah Mohammed Hashim.

On Nov 23, 2010, the prosecution applied in the High Court to forfeit monies and properties of Bintulu Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and Law Ka Hing as well as 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) under section 56 (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing 2001 (AMLATFA).

The prosecution filed the notice of motion to forfeit monies and properties 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 are 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 High Court held that the prosecution failed to adduce evidence that the properties were obtained as a result of, or in connection with, an offence under AMLATFA.

The prosecution appealed to the Federal Court after it lost its appeal to the Court of Appeal, which made its ruling on July 4, 2018.

In today’s proceedings, deputy public prosecutor Faizah Mohd Salleh argued that the Court of Appeal judges had been misdirected in their findings that by the prosecution withdrawing the criminal breach of trust charges against former general manager of Port Klang authority Datin Paduka O.C. Phang, the premise of its forfeiture application cannot stand.

Faizah said under Section 56 (1) of the AMLATFA, the prosecution only needs to be satisfied that such property had been obtained as a result of or in connection with an offence under subsection 4 (1) or a terrorism financing offence, as the case may be, or is terrorist property.

Meanwhile, lawyer Datuk Prem Ramachandran argued that this case was not an appropriate case for an order for forfeiture to be made as the prosecution had failed to prove, among others, on a balance of probabilities that the proceeds from the predicate offence have been used by the respondents in the act of money laundering.

He said as it stands today all monies have been released and there were no monies or properties that were currently freezed or forfeited.

Prem and Porres Royan were representing KDSB, Transshipment Megahub, Coastal Skyline, Wijaya Baru Aviation, Wijaya Baru and Wijaya Baru Construction. Lawyer Datuk K. Kumaraendran appeared for Tiong and Law and counsel Shamsul Sulaiman for PKNS.

Also appearing for the prosecution were deputy public prosecutors Nahra Dollah, Hanim Mohd Rashid and Allan Suman Pillai. - Bernama

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