RM42M Not Yours to Give to Charity, Judge Tells Najib

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Najib Razak failed to convince the high court the RM42 million he took from SRC International was for charitable purposes, as it was not his money in the first place to give out.

According to the judge:

  • Najib’s case was among the worst cases of power abuse seen in Malaysia and his sentencing should serve as a deterrent for future offenders
  • Najib never showed any sign of guilt even after it was established the SRC funds went into his bank account and maintained he knew nothing about the RM42 million transaction
  • there is no evidence the Najib attempted to verify the alleged donation or the purpose of it with the king of Saudi Arabia.
  • the case was even more heinous as Najib had got RM4 billion in loans from Malaysia’s largest public services pension fund for SRC while he was prime minister

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali stated the money was raised to promote alternative energy resources for Malaysia and not supposed to be disbursed by Najib in his capacity as prime minister.

“The use of that property by others can never be justified under any circumstances. This is immutable and cannot be obfuscated by any diversions that the certain portions of the monies out of the RM42 million were expended for charitable purposes. There is quite simply no virtue in donating what one does not own,” he said in his 536-page judgment.

Nazlan said Najib’s case was among the worst cases of power abuse seen in Malaysia and his sentencing should serve as a deterrent for future offenders.

“His conviction of all seven charges concerning abuse of position, criminal breach of trust and money laundering constitutes nothing less than an absolute betrayal of that trust.

“For this reason, I consider that the conviction of the accused for abuse of position under Section 23 of the MACC Act as the most serious transgression amongst the three given his position of trust as the nation’s prime minister and finance minister when the offences were committed,” Nazlan said in his 536-page written judgment.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court found Najib guilty on July 29 for all seven criminal charges – three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money-laundering and one count of abuse of power – over the illicitly received RM42 million

The Pekan MP was sentenced to serve 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million for seven charges. Failure to pay the fine will incur five more years of jail time.

Nazlan said the case was even more heinous as Najib had got RM4 billion in loans from Malaysia’s largest public services pension fund for SRC while he was prime minister.

“Having considered all relevant considerations, especially recognising that each of these seven charges of serious offences reflects a scenario of a near worst imaginable case given the premeditation and sophistication in the manner these offences were committed, the loss of public funds of RM42 million belonging to SRC which was instead used for the accused’s own benefit and advantage, and most critically, the fact that these grave offences were committed by the accused when he held the ultimate position of public trust as the prime minister of the nation,” Nazlan said.

On the corruption and money-laundering charges, Nazlan said the defence’s argument that Najib received money from the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia cannot be sustained because there is no evidence the Pekan MP attempted to verify the donation or the purpose of it with the king or the government of Saudi Arabia.

A week after he was found guilty by the high court of illicitly receiving RM42 million, Najib said the money was not a bribe or for personal gain but for welfare programmes, including to help orphans.

Seth Akmal/TMI

The 67-year-old posted a video on Facebook calling his verdict unfair. He said 99% of the money from SRC that went into his accounts in 2014 and 2015 was used for corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.

Among the findings from the investigation was Najib used the bulk of the SRC money for his personal use, including paying back loans used to service his credit cards.

The money was also used to fund Barisan Nasional and Umno, which Najib was president at the time before the 14th general election.

Nazlan said Najib never showed any sign of guilt even after it was established the SRC funds went into his bank account and maintained he knew nothing about the RM42 million transaction.

“The accused did not express any remorse and even maintains his defence of no knowledge of the RM42 million from SRC in his mitigation speech.

“Political history will continue to debate whether he has done on balance more good than harm. But this very process would arguably be inimical to the ideals of a clean administration that does not tolerate corruption and abuse of power,” he said.