KUALA LUMPUR (February 15): The High Court has set April 18 to render its decision on i-Serve Online Mall Sdn Bhd’s application for leave for judicial review challenging the freezing of several of its accounts by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) since last November.
The court heard on Tuesday (February 15) an objection from the Office of the Attorney General (AGC) to the request on the grounds that the judicial review would be moot, as freezing orders issued since November last year had been replaced by new restraining orders. seizure rendered recently. .
Lawyers for i-Serve Online, however, argued that the judicial review was still relevant given that more than 30 of the company’s accounts and those of other applicants continued to be frozen.
Following this, Judge Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh set April 18 to issue his decision whether or not to grant the clearance.
In cases of judicial review, permission or authorization must be granted to ensure that the request is not frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of legal process.
Federal Attorney M Kogilambigai appeared for the AGC, while i-Serve Online Mall and the other petitioners were represented by Datuk DP Naban, Chetan Jethwani and Amiratu Al Amirat.
In mid-November last year, BNM issued a press release stating that 22 premises linked to i-Serve Online Mall and its related subsidiaries in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor had been raided in an operation carried out by the National Anti-Financial Crime Center with BNM as the lead agency.
On November 18, i-Serve Online Mall issued a statement claiming that BNM’s press release was inaccurate. It is understood that i-Serve Online Mall has since issued a letter of formal notice against BNM for making a false and defamatory press release.
On January 26, i-Serve Online Mall, its shareholders Datuk Goh Hwan Hua and Boon Soon Heng, Goh Datin Neow’s wife Ean Lee, i-Serve Technology & Vacations Sdn Bhd, Advance Digital Ventures Bhd and Trillion Cove Holdings Bhd filed for judicial review. petition against the BNM and its directors, contesting the freezing order.
Goh said in his affidavit that BNM’s action was tainted with bad faith (bad intent), illegality and abuse of power.
In the application for judicial review, i-Serve Online Mall named six defendants: BNM, Director of the Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department (FIED) of the central bank Mohd Fuad Arshad, Director of FIED Sarah Syamimi Mohd Suhaimi, FIED officers Muhammad Banjumaswira Ishak and Maisarah Najla Mansor as well as AGC Deputy Prosecutor Kamal Baharin Omar.
At the end of January, BNM published a letter to lift the freezing of a dozen accounts linked to i-Serve Online Mall and its affiliates, following the filing of its judicial review and a report published on theedgemarkets.com on 27 January.
“Partial release of accounts made in bad faith”
Contacted by theedgemarkets.com, a spokesperson said i-Serve Online Mall argued that BNM acted in bad faith when it granted the variation orders for just 10 accounts on the eve of the orders expiring. of frost.
i-Serve Online Mall also argued that the law relating to freezing orders had changed and Parliament had enacted new Sections 44 and 44A to protect the rights of those subject to freezing orders.
The AGC took the position that leave should not be granted on the basis that the BNM’s investigative powers in this case were not subject to judicial review and that the legal action was moot since the orders of frost were lapsed.
A freezing order made under the Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Proceeds of Illegal Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUA) will cease to have effect after 90 days from the date of the prescription.
i-Serve Online Mall is also seeking an order of certiorari to vacate the freezing orders that BNM issued on November 11 last year under AMLATFPUA Section 44, and damages suffered in connection with the issuance of prescriptions.
theedgemarkets.com understands that BNM served i-Serve Online Mall attorneys with the new seizure orders on Tuesday morning ahead of the hearing. The company’s spokesperson claimed the new orders were backdated to January 28, which was not disclosed to the court earlier.
“It is an abuse of investigative power when an enforcement body, like the BNM, having already frozen the companies’ 45 trading accounts for already three months, now wants to extend them for another nine months.
“BNM failed to inform what they needed while plaintiffs cooperated fully. It is irrational and perverse to kill a business in this way, especially in this phase of the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery,” he said. said the spokesperson, speaking on condition of anonymity.
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