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Umno and three others to get back RM194m seized by MACC

19 Jun 2020 / 18:29 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has failed in its bid to forfeit over RM194 million seized by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from Umno, Wanita MCA and two companies.

This after High Court Judge the Mohamed Zaini Mazlan dismissed its application to obtain a stay of the High Court order in dismissing its application to forfeit the monies allegedly received from former Prime Minister Datuk Najib Abdul Razak and linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fraudulent fund scandal.

The judge dismissed the application after hearing the submissions from the government as the applicant, and four respondents, namely Umno, Wanita MCA, Perano Sdn Bhd and Binsabi Sdn Bhd.

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Samihah Ghazali in her submission, said the prosecution had applied for the monies not to be released to all respondents until its appeal was heard and came to a conclusion at the Court of Appeal.

She said this was because the monies would all be spent by the respondents to cover their operating cost and legal fees.

She said according to Umno’s affidavit in reply, RM192 million of the monies will be used to pay their operating expenditure.

“Of the total, RM59 million will be used to pay backdated salaries of their staff, programme providers, allocation for wings’ movement and state Umno liaison offices.

“If the monies were released, RM59 million will go straight to the debts from (the date their accounts were frozen on) June 25, 2018. Now that it’s already 2020, I’m sure the cost is definitely higher.

“A sum on RM48 million or 25 per cent of the monies were deposited as legal fees ... so, we will not be able to return to the position before it is released,” she said.

Meanwhile, Umno’s lawyer Hariharan Tara Singh, submitted that in the previous judgment, there was evidence that the monies were not received from Najib or proceeds of unlawful activities.

“The prosecution does not dispute that the assets owned by Umno exceed the value of those seized and that they are only concerned about the time it will take to liquidate the assets to recover the seized monies if they (prosecution) succeeds in their appeal.

“The account frozen was only for the operating cost and the prosecution could not prove that we would not repay it because of bankruptcy.

“If the Court of Appeal finds the monies belonged to 1MDB, we can return it and they can also put the caveat on the assets,” he said.

Lawyer Datuk Ben Chan acted for Wanita MCA, while Perano Sdn Bhd was represented by Habizan Habeeb Rahman, and Binsabi Sdn Bhd, by Muhammad Hasif Hasan.

On Feb 7, Mohamed Zaini dismissed the prosecution’s applications to forfeit over RM194 million seized from Umno, Wanita MCA and the two companies on the grounds that the monies could not be convincingly said were received from Najib and that there was no evidence to prove that the monies came from unlawful activities.

The forfeiture applications against Umno involved RM192,965,413.61 and RM300,000 against Wanita MCA, while the two companies are Perano Sdn Bhd, which sells hijab, and Binsabi Sdn Bhd, which supplies tents, involving RM337,634.78 and RM827,250, respectively, which they allegedly received from the former prime minister. — Bernama

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