KUALA LUMPUR — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has to declare her property acquisition after she failed to set aside a prosecution notice requiring her to declare assets from Jan 1, 2009, until Dec 31, 2017.
In dismissing Rosmah’s application yesterday (24 May), Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said he accepted the prosecution’s argument that Section 49(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001, was pertaining to its power of investigation.
The judge said the purpose of the section was to assist the prosecution in identifying assets belonging to a person suspected of money laundering.
“This, therefore, negates the applicant’s (Rosmah) fear of having to disclose her defence or that the information obtained may be used against her in respect of these charges. The applicant’s argument that she would be precluded from a right to a fair trial is therefore speculative and unmeritorious,” the judge said.
The judge said Rosmah claim to a right to silence and privilege against self-incrimination was a right that will be accorded to her during a trial.
“I would again take solace with the prosecution’s repeated assurance that the investigation process here has no bearing with the 17 chargers currently faced by the applicant. I also concur with the prosecution’s argument that the right to remain silent and the privilege against self-incrimination are not constitutionality guaranteed rights,” the judge said.
Rosmah’s lawyer Mohamed Reza Rahim applied for a stay of the ruling as the defence would file an appeal over the decision.
However, Justice Mohamed Zaini ordered the defence to file a written application of the stay.
Former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who was appointed as senior deputy public prosecutor lead the prosecution team.
Rosmah, 67, who was not present in court today, was also represented by lawyers Manjeet Singh Dhillon, N. Rajivan and Datuk K. Kumaraendran.
Rosmah filed the application on Feb 24 to set aside a notice issued by the public prosecutor on Nov 1 last year to compel her to declare all her assets from Jan 1, 2009, until Dec 31, 2017, under Section 49(1)(a) AMLATFPUAA.
Failure to comply with the notice is an offence punishable by a maximum RM3 million fine, up to five years’ jail or both upon conviction.
On Oct 4, 2018, Rosmah pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of money laundering, involving RM7,097,750, and five counts for failing to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board.
The offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank Berhad, Bangunan Getah Asli branch, Ground Floor, 148 Jalan Ampang here between Dec 4, 2013, and June 8, 2017, and the Inland Revenue Board, Kompleks Bangunan Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here between May 1, 2014, and May 1, 2018.
The charges on money laundering were framed under Section 4(1) (a) of the AMLATFPUAA and punishable under Section 4(1) of the same law, which provides for imprisonment of up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the proceeds of unlawful activity or RM5 million, whichever is higher, if found guilty.
The charges for not declaring income were made under Section 77(1) of the Income Tax Act 1967 which requires her to furnish returns of her income for the assessment years 2013 to 2017 to the IRB Director-General on or before April 30, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 without reasonable excuse contrary to Section 112 of the law.