By V. Anbalagan | Free Malaysia Today

Rosmah Mansor wants the High Court to strike out 12 money laundering charges involving RM7.09 million and five charges of failing to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board. — BERNAMA

Rosmah Mansor should not be made to endure a trial of 17 money laundering and tax evasion charges brought against her as they are “groundless”, the High Court heard today.

Lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad also said the wife of former Prime Minister Najib Razak was not in a position to put up an effective defence as there were missing links in the charges.

“No proper, adequate, and legal notice has been given to her. She should not undergo a trial if the charges are bad in law,” the lawyer said when submitting on an application to have the charges faced by Rosmah, 72, struck out.

Amer said 12 of the 17 charges did not involve a “transaction” as defined under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

He said these charges merely involved the deposit of money into her bank account, which was a unilateral act. A “transaction” can only take place if it involves two or more parties, the lawyer said.

Amer said the remaining five charges brought in respect of an alleged failure to submit tax returns meanwhile did not amount to breaches of the anti-money laundering law.

He also submitted that the charges faced by Rosmah were similar to those faced by prominent lawyer Shafee Abdullah, who was acquitted without his defence being called by a High Court last year.

Shafee was alleged to have received a cheque for RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013, and another for RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014, from Najib. The prosecution in that case alleged that the money had come from illegal proceeds.

Shafee was also charged with submitting incorrect tax returns for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2013 and Dec 31, 2014, which omitted income totalling RM9.5 million from his tax returns.

Amer said the prosecution had since discontinued an appeal to the Court of Appeal from the lawyer’s acquittal.

“The High Court ruling in Shafee’s case prevails as there is no appeal,” he said, adding that the Attorney General (AG) should likewise consider withdrawing the charges against Rosmah.

At the outset of today’s proceeding, lawyer Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, who is also appearing for Rosmah, informed Justice K. Muniandy that fresh representations were submitted to the AG yesterday for his consideration.

He applied for today’s proceeding to be adjourned to give the AG time to study the representations.

However, Muniandy refused the application and ordered Rosmah’s lawyer to submit on the striking out application.

Rosmah is standing trial on 12 money laundering charges involving RM7.09 million and five charges of failing to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board.

Rosmah said she was charged on the allegation that she did not file her income tax returns as required under the Income Tax Act 1967 and, as such, committed offences.

She is accused of committing the offences between Dec 4, 2013 and June 8, 2017.

Her trial began on Aug 24 and so far, two prosecution witnesses have testified. However, it was stalled after she filed the striking out application on Sept 6.

The hearing to annul the charges has been adjourned to Jan 16.