PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, must prove the whereabouts of 44 pieces of jewellery she received from a Lebanese jewellery firm, said the company's lawyer.
Datuk David Gurupatham, who is representing Beirut-based jeweller Global Royalty Trading SAL, said Rosmah claimed the goods were seized by police during raids in May on properties linked to Najib.
But in a civil case, Mr David said the burden was on her to substantiate this claim.
"Bearing that in mind, her position will depend on whether the goods are seized," he said on Monday (Feb 11).
On June 26, 2018, Global Royalty Trading sued Rosmah, demanding that she return jewellery sent to her for viewing purposes, or to pay the full price of all the items, which are worth US$14.8 million (S$20.1 million).
Global Royalty Trading had alleged that Rosmah was a longstanding customer and that it would send consignments of jewellery to her on demand. She would then evaluate and purchase the items, which she paid on her own or through a third party, the firm said.
The company claimed that Rosmah, via a letter dated May 22 last year, confirmed and acknowledged the receipt of the jewellery but stated that all the items were no longer in her possession because they had been seized.
Mr David on Monday noted that the findings on the whereabouts of the jewellery were equally important for his client, because if the goods were not seized then the civil suit can proceed.
"And in which case, she may have to pay the full amount based on her liability under the consignment note she signed.
"It is also important for the court, as any judgment must be based on accurate facts. Therefore it is important for all parties to have this issue decided. Are the 44 pieces of jewellery actually seized and in the possession of the police or not?" he said.
National news agency Bernama reported on Monday that Rosmah was to apply for a stay of proceedings of a lawsuit filed against her by the jeweller.
Rosmah's lawyer N. Rajivan said the application was necessary because the government had yet to verify whether the jewellery was in possession of the police or Rosmah.
He said Judicial Commissioner Wong Chee Lin had set Feb 25 to hear the application after she was informed of Rosmah's intention to file the application.
"We will file the application for stay of proceedings until the end of the seizure period of the jewellery. We will file it before Feb 25," Mr Rajivan said.
Meanwhile, Mr David said the court had also ordered the government to file a statement of defence as the second defendant in the suit and that the trial had been set for March 4 and 5.
On Aug 20, 2018, the High Court allowed the government's application to be an intervenor in the suit and named the second defendant.