Rosmah's bid to involve police and government in lawsuit over missing jewellery fails

Najib wife's Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor arriving at Court Palace of Justice in Putrajaya. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has failed in her bid to bring the police and the government as third parties into a US$14.57mil lawsuit against her over missing jewellery pieces at the High Court.

Justice Ong Chee Kwan, in his decision, said that the police and the government were not responsible for compensating Rosmah.

Rosmah, however, was at liberty to initiate a separate civil lawsuit for any alleged losses suffered from the authorities' actions regarding the jewellery.

Rosmah's lawyer, Reza Rahim, told the press that the court did not allow their application to insert the police and the government as third parties in the lawsuit as they were not joint tortfeasors and owed no duty of indemnity to Rosmah.

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He also said they would be appealing the decision.

A defendant can apply to insert a third party who is not part of the main suit in order to claim contribution, indemnity or any remedy which is claimed by the plaintiff.

During the in-chamber proceedings here on Wednesday (May 29), lawyer Venothani Rajagopal appeared for the plaintiff Global Royalty Trading SAL, while Senior Federal Counsel Syafiq Affandy appeared for the police and the government.

The lawsuit will be heard in a full trial from June 2 and June 6, 2025.

On March 29, 2023, Global Royalty filed the suit against Rosmah and claimed that she had lied by saying that 44 pieces of jewellery, including diamond necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets and tiaras, sent to her by the company’s agent were seized by the Malaysian authorities for offences under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

According to the Beirut-based company, this was because only one of the 44 pieces of jewellery was kept by the police, and the remaining 43 pieces were not in the authorities' custody.

Global Royalty also claimed that Rosmah had shifted the burden to the Malaysian government when the jewellery had gone missing.

In her defence, Rosmah asserted that if the 43 pieces of jewellery were lost, the police or the Malaysian government should be responsible for the losses.

She claimed that the jewellery was in the possession of the authorities at all material time.

Rosmah is asking the police and the government, among other things, to compensate and/or contribute to the reliefs sought by the jeweller.

Rosmah said companies like Global Royalty sought publicity for their products and wanted her to be their customer.

She added that items would be sent to her to attract buyers, and she was not obligated to purchase them.

In reply, the firm said it was a "well-established and renowned jeweller" operating internationally and did not need additional publicity from Rosmah.

The company first sued Rosmah on June 26, 2018, demanding that she return the 44 pieces of jewellery that had been sent to her for selection or pay the full price of all the jewellery, amounting to US$14.79mil.

That lawsuit, however, was withdrawn in 2019, and they refiled again last year.

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