Court dismisses MACC's application to forfeit RM4.6m belonging to Mediaedge

KUALA LUMPUR (July 2): The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) failed in its bid to forfeit RM4.63 million that was seized from a bank account belonging to Mediaedge Cia Malaysia Sdn Bhd for being allegedly linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund scandal.

This followed a decision by High Court judicial commissioner Datuk Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh in dismissing the application after finding that the commission had failed to prove that the money was proceeds from unlawful activities.

He said a forfeiture application is not a mechanism to compel parties that received the disputed money to return or repay the money that is no longer in their possession or their account.

“Money that can be forfeited under Section 56 of Act 613 (Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities 2001) must be money that was previously seized, where in this case, proceeds from unlawful activities.

“If the money that was seized is in fact not proceeds from unlawful activities, the law does not allow it to be forfeited.

"I find, based on the balance of probability, that the applicant (MACC) has failed to prove the conditions provided under Section 56(2)(a)(iii) and Section 56(2)(b) of Act 613. Therefore, I dismiss the application by MACC,” he added.

Ahmad Shahrir said Mediaedge is a legitimate business entity that conducts business as a media relations service provider and the amount of RM4.63 million was paid for the service concerned.

“Mediaedge used the money to pay for the media slots and time purchased by ORB (ORB Solutions Sdn Bhd) under the media service agreement," he added.

He said when Mediaedge’s bank account was frozen on June 29, 2018, the balance in the account was RM9.58 million, but the amount was not  payment from former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"This is specifically stated in the affidavit by Mediaedge. Unfortunately, the MACC in its affidavit simply stated that it had no knowledge of it,” he added.

After Ahmad Shahrir handed down the decision, deputy public prosecutor Nik Haslinie Hashim, from MACC, said the prosecution would apply to stay the release of the money to Mediaedge, represented by lawyers Gopal Sreenevasan and Michelle Chew Kim Lian.

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