Bandar Seri Begawan - The High Court has allowed the return of all money to the defendant in the case of a Malaysian man who had moved close to half a million dollars worth of Brunei and Malaysian currencies into the country.
The conclusion was reached on the basis that the money has, at this stage, not been suggested to be tainted, although investigations are still ongoing.
At first under the Criminal Asset Recovery Order (CARO) 2012, 41-year-old Malaysian Woo Kian Min was first charged before the Bandar Magistrate's Court on an allegation of moving close to half a million Brunei dollars worth of Brunei and Malaysian currencies into the country.
The defendant has pleaded guilty to the charge, while the court has ruled to return the money to the defendant. The prosecution then applied for the forfeiture as the money's source is still uncertain.
Statement of facts has not been agreed upon and is still being discussed between the prosecution and the counsels to come to an agreement, failing which the defendant's plea of guilty will be retracted and a trial will take place.
The defendant was arrested by Marine Police on September 4, 2012 at about 3pm in the vicinity of Brunei River. He was found to be in possession of a substantial amount of cash. The defendant had moved the money into the country from Lawas, Sarawak.
Moving money in or out of the country exceeding the prescribed amount of $15,000 without providing a report in respect of the movement is an offence under Section 37 (2) of the Criminal Asset Recovery Order 2012, which carries a penalty of a fine not exceeding $50,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both.
Justice Dato Hairol Arni presided the High Court proceeding, and DPP Suhana Hj Sudin prosecuted the case.
The defendant is represented by Siva Sankaran and Sharifah Salina of Sankaran Halim Advocates and Solicitors.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin