Friday, October 30, 2020

Malaysia: Rosmah in bid to stop compliance with notice to declare assets

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Rosmah Mansor is seeking to halt the compliance with a public prosecutor’s notice asking her to declare all her assets ahead of her money laundering trial next year.

Her lawyer, Geethan Ram Vincent, told the High Court here that she had filed her appeal against the court’s decision on May 24 ordering her to comply with the notice to declare her assets.

In her application, she said her appeal would be academic if compliance with the notice was not halted.

High Court judge Mohd Zaini Mazlan set July 26 to hear Rosmah’s application to stay the asset declaration notice.

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“All written submissions must be filed by July 12,” he added.

The court also agreed to dispense with Rosmah’s attendance on July 26 after her lawyer, K Kumaraendran, said the hearing would only focus on the points of law.

The former prime minister’s wife previously failed to challenge the public prosecutor’s notice ordering her to declare her assets under Section 49 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amla).

Zaini, the trial judge, said the money laundering law was formed to address the blight of money laundering.

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“The authorities must be given leverage to conduct their investigations effectively, such as by identifying the assets belonging to a person suspected of money laundering,” he said then.

However, the court assured Rosmah that the presumption of innocence still applied to her and that the burden of proof was on the prosecution to establish guilt in a trial.

Rosmah claimed trial last year to 17 money laundering charges amounting to RM14 million.

Five of the charges said Rosmah had failed to declare her tax returns from 2014 to 2018.

She was also slapped with three corruption charges related to the solar hybrid project in Sarawak.

Rosmah was accused of receiving RM1.5 million and RM5 million from the director of Jeepak Holdings as an inducement for the company to obtain the project.

She was also said to have solicited RM187.5 million from the company.

If convicted of corruption, Rosmah faces a maximum 20 years’ jail and a fine of not less than five times the amount of gratification received, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

For the money laundering offences, she will face a maximum fine of RM5 million or more and a jail term of between five and 15 years, if found guilty.

Rosmah’s trial for the money laundering and corruption charges is scheduled to begin on Feb 3, 2020.

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