KUALA LUMPUR (June 10): The High Court today has allowed an application by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to inspect close to 12,000 pieces of jewellery, 300 handbags and other valuables which were seized by police shortly after the 14th general election in 2018.
The jewellery and other items belonged mostly to Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who was already granted permission by the High Court to physically inspect the items worth RM680 million in March.
These items were seized from two residential units in Pavilion Residences at Bukit Bintang here by police in May 2018.
The order was made by Justice Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin after hearing submissions by Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah and objections by deputy public prosecutor Fatin Hadni Khairuddin.
“The applicant (Najib) and one lawyer are allowed to be in the premises when the inspection is carried out,” the judge said.
Before the judge’s decision was delivered, Shafee had argued that his client has a right to inspect the items because he accused the police of mislabelling the items and even defacing them.
“During the seizure, the police had removed labels my client had kept on all of these items, we need to inspect and certify if these items are correct,” Shafee said.
He also accused the police of breaching protocol by raiding Najib’s apartments without him, the owner of the apartment, present.
“They forcefully opened the apartment and entered the building, they did not document the exhibits properly. If you look at the search list, it’s a joke,” Shafee said.
“The expensive handbags are all destroyed because the police labelled them with a magic marker. They wrote on the handbags, these are expensive items, the police had no respect,” he said.
In March, the judge had also allowed Lebanese jewellery firm Global Royalty Trading SAL, which has withdrawn its civil suit against Rosmah, to physically inspect 44 pieces of jewellery worth US$14.79 million (RM62.7 million) which the company claimed had been sent to her for viewing.
The 44 jewellery were among the items that were seized from Pavilion Residences.
Global Royalty claimed that the jewellery it sent to Rosmah included a diamond necklace, earrings, rings, bracelets and a tiara, each worth between US$124,000 and US$925,000.
In March, the judge had ordered Rosmah to have the inspection within 30 days in a controlled environment to be decided by the prosecution.
In addition, she only had one day to inspect all the valuable items; however, this did not take place as the government had implemented the Movement Control Order (MCO) to stop the spread of the dreaded coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
Meanwhile, in the proceedings, lawyer for Global Royalty Datuk David Gurupatham sought an extension on the timeframe for his client to conduct the inspection from the judge.
He explained to the court that due to the fact that his client is in the UK following the closure of Malaysia’s borders to foreigners as part of the MCO, their inspection of the jewellery has to be delayed to a later date.
Fatin had then asked the judge to allow Najib and Rosmah to be allowed to view their belongings first, such as handbags, watches, sunglasses and others.
“As for the 44 pieces of jewellery, all three parties can set another date to inspect it together once Global Royalty can come,” she told the judge.
The judge did not set a date for the inspection yet.
Before the trial, police had brought in 14 plastic boxes of pictures of the jewellery, handbags and other valuable items to be shown to the applicants.
Fatin had previously suggested that this should be sufficient and there was no need for a physical inspection.
The valuables include 11,991 pieces of jewellery, 401 watches and 16 watch accessories, 234 pairs of eyewear and 306 handbags, as well as RM114.16 million in various foreign currencies.