Court rejects MACC’s bid to forfeit RM3m from AGA Touch

by BERNAMA/ graphic by MZUKRI

THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) failed in its bid to forfeit RM3 million that was seized from a bank account belonging to AGA Touch (M) Sdn Bhd, an IT firm, for allegedly linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund scandal.

This followed a decision by High Court Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin in dismissing the application after finding that the commission had failed to prove the money was proceeds from unlawful activities.

“AGA Touch had never denied the fact that they had received RM3 million from Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in 2014. However, the company contended that the money was payment for its services to UMNO.

“The RM3 million had been spent and the money that was in the company’s account in May 2018 was from other sources.

“As such, the court, dismisses the application,” he added.

After Justice Muhammad Jamil handed down the decision, lawyer Datuk Hariharan Tara Singh requested the court to release the money immediately, while deputy public prosecutor Farah Yasmin Salleh from MACC said the prosecution will be appealing against today’s decision and sought for an interim order to stay the decision.

The judge also denied an oral application from the prosecutor for an interim stay on today’s ruling pending the prosecution’s appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Justice Muhammad Jamil then ordered the prosecution to  file a written application for a temporary stay of today’s decision pending disposal of their appeal.

When met by reporters after the proceedings, Hariharan  said that they write to Public Bank Berhad soon to request for the release of the RM3 million as the account has been frozen for more than two years.

Meanwhile, in a separate court, Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali dismissed the  prosecution’s application to obtain a stay order over RM1.15 million seized by the MACC from Kedah UMNO liaison committee and Habib Jewels Sdn Bhd.

Justice Mohd Nazlan said the applicant (prosecution) had not shown any special circumstances to justify a stay.

Kedah UMNO was represented by lawyer G. Nadaraja, while lawyer Gooi Yang Shuh acted for Habib Jewels.

On Dec 13, last year,  Justice Mohd Nazlan rejected the prosecution’s application to forfeit the money from the two entities on grounds that it had failed to prove its civil forfeiture cases against them.

The prosecution had also filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal on Dec 16 last year against the High Court’s decision.

In June last year, the MACC filed a civil forfeiture suit against 41 entities, comprising individuals, companies and political parties, under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act to recover about RM270 million believed to be linked to 1MDB.

MACC believed the money was illegally transferred from Najib’s bank accounts.