The Court of Appeal has dismissed a government appeal to continue freezing the bank accounts of Umno, Wanita MCA and two companies in a case related to 1MDB-linked funds.
A three-member panel of judges led by Yaacob Md Sam decided after deliberating on submissions by counsel representing the five parties.
“After considering all the submissions, cause papers and case of laws, we found that the applicant (government) has failed to prove to this court the special circumstances which can enable this court to use its discretion to grant a stay on (an earlier decision by the Kuala Lumpur High Court),” Yaacob said when delivering the judgement.
In February, the Kuala Lumpur High Court had denied the government’s bid to forfeit 1MDB-linked funds from Umno (RM192 million), Wanita MCA (RM300,000), Perano Sdn Bhd (RM337,634.78) and Binsabi Sdn Bhd (RM827,250).
The government then filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal under Section 59 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act, citing special circumstances to obtain the stay order which led to today’s hearing.
Deputy public prosecutor Roslan Mat Nor told the judges during today’s proceedings that the money in the accounts should continue to be frozen pending disposal of the appeal in the forfeiture case.
He said if the monies were returned to the parties, the status quo would not be retained and thus making any decision on the forfeiture case “nugatory”.
“This is because the sum of money subject matter, in this case, is now under the custody of the MACC. And if the monies are returned, and stay is not given (by the court), then it would make any decision taken by the Court of Appeal to be nugatory,” he said.
The four respondents’ counsel, however, said their clients had shown their solvent status where the assets they have are much more than the subject matter.
“The order (freezing of Umno bank account) was only for the amount of RM192 million only, where assets that Umno has are worth more than RM450 million. And the party also has a steady income.
“So, there is no issue about getting back the money (in case of the High Court’s decision gets overturned),” said Hariharan Tara Singh, who represented Umno.