Court to decide on ex-minister linked to 1MDB scandal


THE High Court has fixed July 24 to decide on the forfeiture action against former Land and Cooperative Development Minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam (picture) amounting to

RM100,000, which was allegedly linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh scheduled the date after both the prosecution and respondent presented their oral submissions in court yesterday.

Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Nik Haslinie Hashim said the court has the power to issue an order under Section 59 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2001 for the former minister to repay the RM100,000, despite the amount had been spent by the respondent.

“Even though the respondent said the money was spent for the purpose of the 2013 general election (GE13), the fact remains the money was received from former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and that the respondent had admitted it himself,” Nik Haslinie said at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday.

Kasitah’s counsel Sasila Basri, however, argued that although his client had admitted receiving the money from Najib in 2012, it has not yet proven that it came from illegal activities.

“Your Honour, my client is a government retiree and former minister in the federal Cabinet. The account in question was created to facilitate deposits of his pension money, long before he retired in 2004. It was not created for unlawful activities…allegation of such activities must be proved first.

“The money of RM100,000 was received in 2012, seized by the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) in 2018…but my client also received pension money of more than RM100,000 a year. The seized money was actually his money,” Sasila said.

She said the proof of deposits of the pension money had also been submitted as exhibits to the court.

As it was, she added that the RM100,000 received by her client was meant for preparation expenses ahead of the GE13.

The lawyer added that the time of the receipt, which was in February 2012 or about a year ahead of the election in May 2013, was reasonable as the preparations could take up to six months.

The DPP responded to the lawyer, saying the fact that Najib has been charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act and Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activity Act showed a predicate offence has been established.

On the GE preparation, Nik Haslinie said there was, neither, evidence to show that there were studies carried out for the GE nor an affidavit from Najib to indicate that the respondent was ordered to carry out the activities.

In June last year, former MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said the anti-graft buster had filed civil forfeiture suit against 41 respondents to forfeit about RM270 million allegedly linked to the 1MDB fund scandal and received by the respondents from Najib.