Extension of time not granted by Shariah Appeals Court

The Shariah Court of Appeal, the highest in the Shariah judicial system, today found that there was no merit in the leave to file an appeal out-of-time by Shahnaz Abdul Majid in a matter against her former husband Sarawak business entrepreneur Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib.

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The bench found that the imperative criteria for the application had not been met.

Shahnaz had sought to recuse Judge Ibrahim Deris in her contentious and protracted multi-million Ringgit divorce demands where she had initially sought RM300 million in matrimonial assets division (harta sepencarian) and later raised it to RM500 million, a jump of 66 per cent.

Shahnaz was slapped with RM2000 in costs.

The appeals bench today led by Datuk Seri Dr Md Yusup bin Che Teh also comprised Datuk Hj Aidi Bin Mokhtar and Datuk Hj Yusof bin Musa.

Shariah lawyers Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar and Saadiah Din appeared for Datuk Seri Mahmud while lawyers Mohd Rafie Mohd Shafie and Datuk Akberdin bin Haji Abdul Kader acted for Shahnaz.

In October 2012, Shahnaz had claimed that Mahmud had 111 offshore bank accounts in Canada, the US, the Caribbean, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Hong Kong and Switzerland.

Sarawak Report operated by British political activist Clare Rewcastle Brown and the Bruno Manser Fund then took the claims on an international scale to defame Mahmud and his father Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Governor of Sarawak, as well as other members of his family.

As a result, the attacks even continued into the Swiss Parliament where MPs had demanded that Swiss banks reveal his accounts. Even the MACC had begun investigations on the local front.

“This court has not been shown any evidence and proof that these accounts exist. Neither have these off shore banks been called in to testify its existence. These bank accounts are forgeries masquerading as hacks. They are not real,” Mahmud had told the court then.

On 24 September 2013, following accusations by Swiss MP Carlo Sommaruga, the Swiss Attorney General informed the Bruno Manser Fund and the public that no members of the Taib family held assets with Swiss banks after 1999. Prior to this date, two family members had held Swiss accounts.

Mahmud when asked to clarify on the forgeries by Cullen Johnson and Elaine White said, “The forged documents were obtained by my former wife at a time when the fraudsters were running away from the arms of the law.”

It had been widely reported that Cullen Johnson and Elaine White were extradited to the US from a Turks and Caicos prison on 10 April 2013 on charges of money laundering, tax evasion and several charges of fraud valued at over US$1 million.

Johnson and White were caught and arrested by the FBI and have now been indicted and jailed.

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