Court dismisses Aman Palestin's bid to unfreeze bank accounts

On Jan 31, Aman Palestin Berhad applied to set aside the MACC's decision to freeze 11 of its bank accounts.

21 Mar 2024 02:57pm
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KUALA LUMPUR - The High Court here today dismissed Aman Palestin Berhad’s application for leave to commence a judicial review concerning the freezing of its 11 bank accounts by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in November last year.

Judge Datuk Amarjeet Singh stated that the subject matter was not amenable to judicial review as the power to issue freezing orders was part and parcel of the criminal investigation process.

"It has been held by the highest court, and this court is bound by those decisions, that the power in relation to the criminal investigation process is not amenable to judicial review.

"The cases are Empayar Canggih and Latifah Bibi Koya. This court also agrees with the decisions in the High Court cases of Simplex Sdn Bhd and Khor Peng Chai,” he said while delivering the verdict via e-mail.

Senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly and Nur Irmawatie Daud acted on behalf of the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) while lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali represented Aman Palestin Berhad.

On Feb 27, the AGC objected to Aman Palestin Berhad’s application on the basis that the order to freeze Aman Palestin’s bank accounts cannot be challenged by a judicial review because MACC has discretionary powers while carrying out criminal investigations.

On Jan 31, Aman Palestin Berhad applied to set aside the MACC's decision to freeze 11 of its bank accounts.

The freezing order was made under Section 44(1) of the AMLA on Nov 24, 2023.

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The NGO additionally petitioned for a mandamus order compelling MACC to modify the freeze order, requesting an immediate release of RM11,026,215.60 to cover essential expenses such as daily operational costs, staff salaries, administration, and other operational expenditures for the forthcoming three months.

The NGO also sought a declaration to enable it to still collect donations from the public and directly channel the funds to the Gaza war victims.

Besides MACC, six other respondents were named in the suit, namely MACC's chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki, investigation division senior director Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hashim, anti-money laundering division director Datuk Mohamad Zamri Zainul Abidin, two officers, Mohd Afiq Mohammed Hassan and Muhammad Zuhdi Mohd Yusoff, and the government.

On Feb 15, Aman Palestin Berhad's executive chairman and chief executive officer were among three individuals charged in the Shah Alam Sessions Court with 164 counts of criminal breach of trust, cheating, and money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of company funds. - BERNAMA