KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — The High Court today ordered Umno and six others to respond to the government’s forfeiture lawsuit against them after the suit came up in court for the first time.
High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan made the order in relation to the civil forfeiture suit filed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to recover 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) monies last week.
Mohamed Zaini ordered Umno and six other respondents to respond to the government’s forfeiture lawsuit against them by filling their respective affidavits.
“All respondents need to file their affidavits in reply to the prosecution’s applications by July 25,” he said, adding the prosecution needed to file their replies to the seven lawsuits by August 15.
The court also fixed the next case mention for the seven lawsuits on July 29.
According to the lawsuit, Umno received around RM212 million of the total RM270 million allegedly misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Apart from Umno, four entities and two individuals — including former Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek — also appeared in court today after they were named as respondents.
The government is seeking to forfeit over RM216 million from Umno, late Paya Besar MP Datuk Seri Abdul Manan Ismail, Hasan, Wanita MCA, Umno Sabah Liaison Committee and two companies, Binsara Sdn Bhd and Perano Sdn Bhd.
The breakdown of the rest of forfeiture lawsuit are; RM1.25 million from Umno Sabah, RM300,000 from Wanita MCA, RM337,634.78 from Perano, RM827,250 from Binsabi, RM100,000 from Hasan and RM265,146.16 from Abdul Manan.
Deputy public prosecutor Kamal Baharin Omar also informed the court that they were also seeking to publish a notice in the Gazette to call upon interested parties to contest the seized money.
Lawyers representing the seven individuals and entities did not object to the Gazette order.
Umno was represented by lawyer Nurfazreen Hazrina Rahim, Alane Neo acted for Wanita MCA, lawyers Muhammad Hasi Hassan and Mohd Khalil Tajuddin acted for Binsabi, Thevini Nayagam for Perano, Harcharanjit Singh for Umno Sabah, and Amin Othman for Hasan.
High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini then allowed the prosecution to prepare a national Gazette two months from today by August 28.
Meanwhile, Kamal said that the prosecution seeks to amend the lawsuit against Abdul Manan as he had passed away in February last year.
“We want to substitute the claim with his wife’s name as estate,” he said.
Abdul Manan’s widow, Datin Seri Rohizah Ahmad, earlier attended court proceedings.
In the forfeiture action, the Malaysian government is seeking to forfeit properties and monies that was dispersed or misused from 1MDB.
These funds were purportedly disbursed via an Ambank account opened under the name of former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The lawsuit was filed against 41 recipients including political parties like Umno and MCA under Section 56 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA).
The entities or individuals named can challenge the forfeiture suit in court by filing in their notice of appearance and respective affidavits to convince the court that the civil forfeiture action should not be allowed.
A second batch of suits involving the respondents is expected to be heard at the High Court on July 2.