THE Kuala Lumpur High Court has scheduled a hearing for Dec 13 to consider Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s application to nullify the RM7 mil money laundering and tax evasion case against her. This decision comes after her legal team filed a striking-out application on her behalf.
Rosmah is the wife of the former Malaysian premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is currently incarcerated.
The striking-out application filed by Rosmah’s counsel Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin was submitted yesterday (Sept 6) in an attempt to challenge the charges against her. This move follows the court’s refusal to grant the prosecution’s request to stay the trial pending a decision from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) regarding her representation.
Judge K Muniandy, who is presiding over the case, also oversaw the commencement of the trial on the same day. The charges against Rosmah involve 12 counts of money laundering amounting to RM7,097,750, and five charges of failing to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).
In her affidavit supporting the striking-out application, Rosmah asserted that the charges against her are baseless, defective, premature and do not reveal any offence under the law.
She further argued that the tax evasion charges are inconclusive because no order from tax authorities has instructed her to make any tax payments.
“At all material times, the IRB director-general never handed me any assessment, demand, or claim as provided for under the Income Tax Act 1967,” Rosmah claimed.
She also contended that the criminal court is not the appropriate forum for addressing tax-related matters through criminal charges and that such issues should be handled by the non-judiciary body Special Commissioners of Income Tax.
According to the criminal charges, the offences were purportedly committed at Affin Bank Bhd, Bangunan Getah Asli branch, ground Floor, 148 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, between Dec 4, 2013, and June 8, 2017, and the IRB office at Kompleks Bangunan Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, KL, between May 1, 2014, and May 1, 2018.
The money laundering charges are framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. If convicted under this section, the punishment can include a jail term of up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the unlawful activity proceeds or RM5 mil, whichever is higher.
The tax evasion charges, as per Section 77(1) of the Income Tax Act 1967, allege that Rosmah Mansor failed to submit income returns for the assessment years from 2013 to 2017 to the IRB director-general by April 30, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, without reasonable excuse, in violation of Section 112 of the Act.
Furthermore, Rosmah had previously been convicted and sentenced to 10 years in jail along with an RM970 mil fine in a corruption case related to the solar hybrid energy project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
However, the High Court granted a stay on the execution of her sentence pending her appeal to the Court of Appeal to overturn the guilty verdict and the associated jail term and fine. – Sept 7, 2023
Main photo credit: The Edge