Sunday, November 1, 2020

Malaysia: Rosmah ordered by the High Court to declare her assets

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The High Court has ordered Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to declare her property acquisition between Jan 1, 2009, and Dec 31, 2017, relating to a money-laundering case.

This came about after Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan dismissed Rosmah’s application to set aside the notice under Section 49(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001. Rosmah, the wife of former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is now required to reply or declare her assets within 30 days.

In his decision, Justice Mohamed Zaini said the applicant’s argument that she would be precluded from a right to a fair trial was “speculative and unmeritorious”.

“The disclosure sought by the prosecution under Section 49(1)(a) of the Act does not relate to the 17 charges that the applicant is currently facing.

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“This negates the applicant’s fear of having to disclose her defence, or that the information obtained may be used against her in respect of these charges,” he said.

The judge said the purpose of the said section was to assist the prosecution in identifying assets belonging to a person suspected of money laundering.

He said Rosmah’s right to silence and privilege against self-incrimination would be accorded to her during a trial.

“I would take solace with the prosecution’s repeated assurance that the investigation process has no bearing on the 17 charges currently faced by the applicant,” he said.

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Justice Mohamed Zaini said the authorities must be given leverage to conduct investigations effectively.

“Revealing one’s assets does not predicate guilt on the part of the person accused of money laundering.

“The presumption of innocence still applies to the applicant.

“The burden is on the prosecution to establish guilt at a trial,” he said.

Last year, Rosmah claimed trial to 12 counts of money laundering involving RM7,097,750, and five counts for failing to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).

The offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank, Bangunan Getah Asli branch, ground floor, 148 Jalan Ampang, here, between Dec 4, 2013, and June 8, 2017, and the IRB, Kompleks Bangunan Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, here, between May 1, 2014 and May 1, 2018.

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