Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was granted bail of RM3.5 million with two sureties after he was slapped with 25 graft and money laundering charges involving RM2.3 billion.
- Given one week to make staggered payments of bail
- Denied all criminal charges for money laundering and power abuse involving RM2.3 billion allegedly from 1MDB
- Supporters allege charges are “acts of vengeance” by PH
- Rosmah could also face up to 20 criminal charges and be charged on Sept 21
Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah asked that the defence be allowed to stagger the payment of bail with RM1 million to be paid on Friday (Sept 21) and another RM500,000 next week.
“Our bank downstairs (in court) takes half a day to count RM500,000, unlike our Indian money changers,” he said on Thursday (Sept 20).
Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi allowed the bail payments be made over a period, as long as it was settled by Sept 28.
From 11 am this morning, scores of journalists had gathered outside the Court Complex in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur, to await Najib’s arrival.
Court officials and police issued passes to 98 journalists to allow them into the complex. Those who did not manage to obtain a pass had to mill about at the lobby and outside the complex.
The authorities allowed about 100 supporters of Najib into the Court Complex, following protests that police had attempted to block their entry.
Among those present to show their support were several top Umno leaders who arrived shortly before 3pm, the time when Najib was to be charged.
Earlier, police had deployed two units of Light Strike Force personnel to barricade the complex’s main gates to bar the group from entering.
Najib, 65, arrived at the Court Complex at about 1.50pm.
He appeared in good spirits as he was brought in, smiling and waving to reporters as he made his way to the entrance escorted heavily by the authorities.
Najib denied all criminal charges filed against him today for money laundering and power abuse over his receipt, use and transfer of RM2.3 billion allegedly from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
He claimed trial in the High Court to 21 counts of money laundering and a separate four counts of power abuse; Najib maintains the sum was a donation from an Arab royal in 2013.
It took 35 minutes to read the charges against him earlier this afternoon before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim had earlier issued a statement that the charges involved nine counts for receiving illegal monies, five counts for using illegal monies and seven counts for transferring illegal monies to other entities.
The remaining four counts are over abuse of power under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, which are punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of at least five times the sum involved, upon conviction.
The money-laundering offences under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2002 (Amla) are each punishable by a maximum 15-year jail term, and a fine of RM5 million or a minimum five times of the value of the unlawful proceeds at the time the offence was committed, depending on whichever is higher.
The four charges by the MACC would be jointly tried with the 21 other charges under Amla.
Today’s charges are the latest on top of Najib’s other existing charges over a sum of RM42 million belonging to 1MDB’s former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Previously, on July 4, Najib was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and also charged with power abuse over RM42 million of funds.
On August 8, Najib was charged with three counts of money laundering over the same RM42 million amount.
Deputy public prosecutor Akram Garib asked for bail to be set at RM5 million if the court was not agreeable to denying bail.
He said the prosecution was objecting to bail as offences under Amla are non-bailable.
Gopal Sri Ram, who is leading the prosecution team, said Najib had made many statements regarding the case on Twitter and Facebook.
However, Shafee said Najib was only exercising his right to freedom of speech.
The latest 1MDB-related charges come after Najib revealed details last week on how he came to receive US$100 million in donations from the late Saudi ruler King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud in 2011.
Najib’s supporters alleged the charges against him are “acts of vengeance” by the Pakatan Harapan government.
A group of supporters gathered outside the MACC headquarters on Wednesday (Sept 19) evening to protest his arrest.
They gathered in the rain at around 9pm, claiming that it was an abuse of power against Najib.
The group was led by Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam who claimed that the arrest was timed late in the afternoon to deny Najib’s lawyers a chance to post bail.
“If they are going to charge him tomorrow afternoon, they could have picked him up tomorrow morning.
“There is no need to make him spend the night behind bars and it is a clear abuse of power,” he said to reporters at the rally.
He urged the Attorney-General to provide evidence against Najib instead of merely charging him.
“Tomorrow will be the eighth charge against Najib and they have yet to provide any evidence so far.
“Just yesterday, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas told a news outlet that he still has not received the investigation papers on the RM2.6 billion donation.
“So it does not make sense that Najib is being arrested and charged the following day.
“Therefore, it is clear that Tun M has instructed the MACC chief to conduct this arrest. They are being used as his revenge tool,” Lokman said.
Lokman also dubbed Amla, which Najib is being charged under, as Malaysia’s new Internal Security Act (ISA) that was used against dissidents.
“Yes, we can say that Amla is the new ISA because apparently it can be used by Dr M to charge just about anyone without any proof.
“Under Amla, those accused are immediately guilty until proven innocence. In this case, Najib needs to prove that the money came from a ‘halal’ source,” he said.
Lokman said the group will also submit a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on September 26 to call for an intervention by the Conference of Malay Rulers.
“We want to protect the institution of Malay rulers and we want them to intervene and ensure that Amla will not be misused by Mahathir’s regime,” he said.
Several NGOs including Civil and Human Rights Movement Malaysia (Charm) were also present at the rally.
Charm president, Daniel Goh said this treatment of Najib by the MACC was a gross violation of human rights.
“We urge the government of today to treat everyone fairly,” he said.
The crowd dispersed peacefully at around 10.30pm.
Detained overnight, Najib left the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya for questioning by the police in Kuala Lumpur before being taken to court to face charges.
He left at 8.55am in a black Toyota Alphard and was escorted by the police and graft investigators.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor could also face up to 20 criminal charges soon, most of them related to money laundering. Speculation is rife that she could be charged on Sept 21.
Earlier report: Sept 19, Najib to be Detained Overnight, to be Charged over RM2.6 Billion Tomorrow