Musfada manager forfeits over $850k to state
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
OVER $850,000 belonging to the manager of Musfada Enterprise, David Chong, was forfeited over to the state yesterday following prosecution’s application at the High Court for the forfeiture of funds associated with corrupt activities belonging to a convicted criminal.
The funds, which represent proceeds of crime were illicit gains obtained by David Chong, a Malaysian national who was convicted and sentenced in November 2013 for multiple counts of bribing employees of Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP).
Chong was the manager of Musfada Enterprise, a key BSP Contractor and is currently serving his sentence of six years and four months for a case described by the High Court as “syndicated corruption on a large scale”.
The case was investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau who had seized the monies totalling $850,617.55 over a period between 2009 and 2014.
A total of over BND $600,000 had previously been recovered from Chong’s foreign bank accounts in November 2014 from the successful application of a foreign benefit recovery order and extensive work between the Attorney General’s Chambers of Brunei Darussalam and the Attorney General’s Chambers of Singapore through the use of Mutual Legal Assistance.
Following the application for a non-conviction based forfeiture order under the provisions of the Criminal Asset Recovery Order 2012, the presiding High Court Judge, Justice Dato Paduka Steven Chong ruled that he was satisfied that the monies which included funds that were frozen from David Chong’s personal bank accounts in Brunei and seized from Musfada Enterprise, constituted “tainted property” and ordered that the total amount together with the accrued interest to date to be forfeited to the Brunei government
These funds would then be transferred to the Criminal Assets Confiscation Fund, managed by the Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary
Deputy Public Prosecutors Pg Nina Jasmine PLKDR Pg Haji Bahrin and Christopher Ng appeared on behalf of the Public Prosecutor. David Chong was represented by Roy Prabhakaran of Yusof Halim and Partners Advocates and Solicitors.
In a statement issued by the AGC yesterday, the order marks the first time the Courts have imposed a non-conviction based forfeiture order on an individual in Brunei.
Under the Criminal Asset Recovery Order 2012, non-conviction based forfeiture orders can be used to recover assets from a person without the need to charge or convict a person for the offence; provided there is proof the property is “tainted.”
It went on to state that the success of this case signifies the strength of Brunei’s legal framework to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains and to prevent them from profiting from their criminal acts as well as making evident the law’s reach in recovering proceeds even from individuals who cannot be prosecuted or convicted.
The Brunei Times