Report: Bersatu accuses MACC of contempt over party’s seized bank accounts
KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) today alleged that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) seizure of the party’s bank accounts while it is still the subject of a legal dispute is tantamount to contempt of court.
Bersatu said this in a court filing today.
News portal Malaysiakini reported that Bersatu executive secretary Muhammad Suhaimi Yahya in an affidavit claimed that the seizure of the accounts by the anti-graft agency was an attempt to interfere in the administration of justice by rendering any outcome of the ongoing court proceedings as academic.
“This wrongful seizure is an attempt to make any order that will be issued by this honourable court against the unlawful freezing useless.
“MACC’s misconduct to interfere in the administration or in the proper execution of justice is a contempt of court and should be reviewed by this honourable court,” he said in a document filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
Malaysiakini reported that the document was filed as part of a judicial review to challenge MACC’s move to freeze two Bersatu bank accounts.
The court is expected to deliver its decision on May 17 on whether to allow the review to proceed.
Muhammad Suhaimi said the order to freeze the accounts on January 12 and 13 was supposed to expire in April after 90 days, but Bersatu has been unable to conduct any transactions through the accounts on April 13 when the order was supposed to expire.
It was previously reported that Bersatu was only informed by a letter from MACC dated April 19 and a media statement the following day that the accounts had been seized in addition to being frozen.
However, Suhaimi claimed that the party had never received any confiscation order from MACC regarding the seizure of the accounts, including in the commission’s letter to them on April 19.
“The MACC media statement is questionable because the seizure notification was not made on April 11. On the contrary, it was only revealed in the MACC media statement.
“In fact, MACC’s letter that was dated on April 19 also did not include the confiscation order which was supposedly issued on April 11,” he said, adding that the matter had raised questions about the legitimacy of the commission’s actions.
Previously, it was reported that MACC had frozen a Bersatu account at CIMB Islamic Bank and another at Ambank (M) Berhad.
MACC sources claimed that the balance in the two accounts amounts to about RM40 million.
The accounts were frozen to assist investigations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA) on allegations that Bersatu had received “donations” from 10 contractors that is believed to have more than RM300 million in total.
Bersatu had claimed that the freezing of the accounts was part of a conspiracy by the unity government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his deputy Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
On April 20, MACC said it had seized the account in connection with the investigation and charges against Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Previously, Bersatu argued that Section 44 of the AMLATFPUAA did not empower the MACC to freeze its accounts for its action against Muhyiddin as he and the party were separate legal entities.
In March, Muhyiddin claimed trial for charges of corruption and money laundering over the Jana Wibawa projects initiated when he was still the prime minister as well as the tax-exempt status of the Yayasan Albukhary charity.
Before that, former Bersatu information chief Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan and Segambut Bersatu division deputy chief Adam Radlan Adam Muhammad were also charged over Jana Wibawa.
Jana Wibawa, or “Programme Jana Ekonomi Pemerkasaan Kontraktor Bumiputera Berwibawa”, was launched during Muhyiddin’s administration with the professed aim of improving the capacity and resilience of Bumiputera contractors in construction.