HOW DID THE JEW­ELLERY GET THROUGH?

All Com­mer­cial items must be de­clared, says Cus­toms D-G

New Straits Times - - FRONT PAGE - BEATRICE NITA JAY KUALA LUMPUR beatrice@nst.com.my

A LAWMAKER has ques­tioned how 44 pieces of jew­ellery, sent to Datin Seri Ros­mah Man­sor by a Le­banese firm, had passed through Cus­toms. The enor­mous value of the jew­ellery should have trig­gered ac­tion. The depart­ment now says the jew­ellery can be con­fis­cated if they were not de­clared.

THE 44 pieces of jew­ellery sent by a Le­banese firm to the for­mer prime min­is­ter ’s wife, Datin Seri Ros­mah Man­sor, could be seized if they were not de­clared to the Cus­toms Depart­ment.

“All com­mer­cial items must be de­clared to the Cus­toms Depar­ment or else it is an of­fence. Items that are not de­clared can be seized,” Cus­toms Depart­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Datuk Seri T. Subro­ma­niam told the New Straits Times.

He said there was a like­li­hood that the jew­ellery could be seized if they did not re­ceive proper Cus­toms clearance or were not doc­u­mented.

He was asked to com­ment on whether any Cus­toms dec­la­ra­tion was made or taxes paid on the jew­ellery sent by Beirut­based firm Global Roy­alty Trad­ing SAL to Ros­mah in Fe­bru­ary.

The jew­ellery was seized by po­lice in a raid on res­i­dences linked to Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak re­cently. It could not be im­me­di­ately deter­mined whether the jew­ellery were de­clared to the Cus­toms Depart­ment.

Ros­mah’s lawyers could not be reached for com­ment yes­ter­day.

News por­tal Malaysi­akini had re­ported that the Cus­toms Depart­ment might seize the 44 pieces of jew­ellery sent to Ros­mah if they were not de­clared to the depart­ment.

In the in­ter­view with Malaysi­akini, Subro­ma­niam said po­lice had yet to con­tact the depart­ment.

Je­lu­tong mem­ber of par­lia­ment R.S.N. Rayer had raised ques­tions on how the jew­ellery got through the Cus­toms.

“Were these con­sign­ments de­clared to the Cus­toms Depart­ment when they were brought into Malaysia? Who was the con­signee? Was the cus­toms ex­cise duty paid? How is it that these con­sign­ments reached Ros­mah safely con­sid­er­ing the enor­mous worth of the jew­ellery?” Rayer had asked.

On June 26, Global Roy­alty had filed a US$14.79 mil­lion (RM59.831 mil­lion) suit against Ros­mah over a con­sign­ment of 44 pieces of jew­ellery which were sent to her in Fe­bru­ary, and seized by the po­lice in May.The com­pany claimed that Ros­mah, in a let­ter dated May 22, ac­knowl­edged re­ceiv­ing the items.

Global Roy­alty claimed that as in pre­vi­ous years, the com­pany would send a con­sign­ment of jew­ellery to Ros­mah ac­cord­ing to her de­mand for her to eval­u­ate and pur­chase, and to be paid by her or by a third party. It said pieces of jew­ellery that were not cho­sen would be re­turned.

“She had ac­knowl­edged in writ­ing on re­ceiv­ing the con­sign­ment. How­ever, it is no longer in her cus­tody as it had been seized by the Malaysian au­thor­i­ties,” the state­ment of claim read.

Ros­mah’s lawyer at the time re­sponded to the state­ment of claim, say­ing that the 44 pieces of jew­ellery items from Global Roy­alty Trad­ing SAL were only for view­ing, and that Ros­mah de­nied pur­chas­ing any of the items.

The gov­ern­ment is seek­ing to in­ter­vene in the case on the ba­sis that the items were al­legedly pur­chased us­ing stolen funds.

Se­nior Fed­eral coun­sel S. Narku­na­vathy had said that the At­tor­ney-Gen­eral’s Cham­bers would ap­ply to be­come an in­ter­vener on grounds that the jew­ellery men­tioned in the court pa­pers be­longed to the gov­ern­ment and that the items were al­legedly bought us­ing stolen money.

FILE PIC

Cus­toms Depart­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Datuk Seri T. Subro­ma­niam says not declar­ing com­mer­cial items to the depart­ment is an of­fence.

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