High Court Dismisses MACC Bid to Seize Alleged 1MDB-Linked Money from IT Firm

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Judge said the prosecution had failed on a balance of probability to prove that the amount was proceeds from unlawful activities.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) bid to seize RM3 million allegedly linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal from IT firm AGA Touch (M) Sdn Bhd was dismissed by the High Court today.

In his brief ruling, judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin said the prosecution had failed on a balance of probability to prove that the amount in the bank account of AGA Touch were proceeds from unlawful activities.

AGA Touch is among 41 local groups, companies, and individuals targeted in a MACC suit that seeks the forfeiture of RM270 million that allegedly originated from 1MDB.

The judge noted that the respondent (AGA Touch) never denied having received RM3 million in a cheque from former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak in March 2014.

He added this was proven by invoices exhibited during court proceedings.

The court also agreed with the IT firm’s submissions that the RM3 million had all been utilised for business operations by the time the account was seized by the authorities in 2018.

Jamil said the company has shown the money in its account when frozen originated from other corporate bodies for services rendered.

Last June, MACC filed civil forfeiture suits worth RM270 million against 41 individuals and groups, including AGA Touch.

Then MACC chief Latheefa Koya said all money sought had been distributed to the respondents from former prime minister Najib Razak’s personal AmBank account.

Azman Ghani/The Star

Of the RM270 million, RM212 million was sought from Umno divisions.

AGA Touch’s bank account was frozen by the MACC on June 29, 2018 over the alleged links to the 1MDB fraudulent money scandal.

“The prosecution, on a balance of probabilities, had failed to prove that the RM3 million was proceeds of illegal activities. This forfeiture application is dismissed,” the judge said.

MACC deputy public prosecutor Farah Yasmin Salleh then made an oral application for an interim stay of today’s decision pending the prosecution’s appeal to the Court of Appeal. The judge denied the application.

Jamil directed the prosecution to instead file a written application for a temporary stay of today’s ruling pending disposal of their appeal.

When met after proceedings, AGA Touch’s counsel Hariharan Tara Singh said that they would be writing to Public Bank soon to request for the release of the RM3 million.