High Court dismisses MACC’s request to forfeit RM100,000 allegedly linked to 1MDB from Kasitah Gaddam

(MMO) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) failed in its bid to forfeit RM100,000, which was allegedly linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, that was seized from former Land and Cooperative Development Minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam.

This followed a decision by High Court Judicial Commissioner Datuk Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh in dismissing the MACC application after finding that the commission had failed to prove that the seized sum off RM100,000 in Kasitah’s CIMB Bank Berhad account was proceeds of unlawful activities.

He said the court found that on the balance of probabilities, the applicant (MACC) has not provided sufficient evidence to show that the money in Kasitah’s CIMB Bank Berhad account was, in fact, the proceeds of unlawful activity.

“Whereas it is most probable in my mind that the respondent’s account balance inclusive of the seized sum of RM100,000 are part of the pension payment.

“The respondent (Kasitah) received the money from Datuk Seri Najib Razak on February 2, 2012, and when the respondent’s account was frozen on June 25, 2018, namely more than six years and four months later, a sizeable number of outgoing transactions from the respondent’s account had occurred,” he said.

Ahmad Shahrir in his judgment said the language of Section 56(2)(a)(iii) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) is clear and in relation to the present application, the money which is liable to forfeiture must be the very money which is proceeds of unlawful activity.

“The applicant (prosecution) merely shows the receipt of the RM100,000 in the respondent’s account but has not taken the most important step to show that the money which originated from Najib’s account being the proceeds of unlawful activity,” he said.

Ahmad Shahir also stated that the cheque issued to Kasitah for the sum RM100,000 originated from Najib’s account.

“It was banked into Tan Sri Kasitah’s account at the Ranau branch in Sabah. Tan Sri Kasitah maintains that RM100,000 currently in his CIMB Bank Berhad account is not the money which he received from Datuk Seri Najib but consists of his own pension payments as well as from other deposits.

“Tan Sri Kasitah appended the statement of account to support his averment which shows monthly remittance of the sum ranging initially from RM12,849.47 in January 2015 up to RM14,186.82 in June 2018, before the account was frozen on June 25, 2018, and eventually seized on September 21, 2018,” he said.

After the judge delivered the decision, Deputy Public Prosecutor Maziah Mohaide said that the prosecution will file an application for a stay of execution against today’s ruling.

Lawyer Sasila Basri and Shamilah Ab Wahab represented Kasitah.

In June last year, former MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said that the MACC 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.

When met outside the court, Kasitah said he felt relief as the money seized by the MACC indeed belonged to him.