Datuk Seri Najib Razak has finally come out with an explanation for the RM116.7 million in multiple currencies seized by investigators from properties linked to him in June this year.
- Singapore currency from an “anonymous donor”
- Other foreign currencies balance from visits abroad
- After BN’s shock defeat, money transferred from Putrajaya to apartment in Pavilion KL as temporary measure
In a statement on his Facebook page today, the Pekan MP asserted again that most of the money belonged to Umno and some to himself and his two grown-up children, which were taken from their homes during the police raid on their homes nearby his main residence in Jalan Duta over three months ago.
“Why then the currencies from 27 countries?
“Whoever frequently visits and is on duty abroad will certainly have a balance of unused foreign currencies at home. My family and I are no different,” he said.
Najib played down the amount of foreign currencies impounded by the authorities saying a large part of the seizure was in ringgit, except for a certain amount given by an anonymous donor that was in Singapore dollars.
“Therefore a large part of the cash seized was in ringgit (including a certain amount in Singapore dollars because a certain donor chose to donate in this form). Those in foreign currencies were only a small amount,” he said.
He then demanded the authorities return the money, asserting that the law provides that all assets seized must be returned if no further action is taken after a period of three months.
“It has been over three months since and according to the law, if there are no charges about the seized assets, they must be returned,” he said.
He also explained in greater detail about the money seized by authorities in their probe into 1MDB, saying it belonged to Umno and that the party’s constitution stipulates that the president should manage the funds.
The former prime minister said the Umno president was in charge of distributing the funds during an election, a practice, he added, that was in place when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the party president.
Mahathir, who currently chairs PPBM, was the Umno president from 1981 to 2003.
Najib went on to say that Mahathir had previously admitted to handing over RM1.4 billion in cash and shares to his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, while Muhyiddin Yassin – who is PPBM’s president – had in the past said he had never questioned the practice as it was normal.
He added that Mahathir had built a strong room and a safe at the prime minister’s office and official residence in Putrajaya for the money – to be used to pay bills during and after elections – to be stored.
“After BN’s shock defeat, the money was transferred to an apartment in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur as a temporary measure.
“But before we could decide what we were going to do with the money and as Umno was conducting its election, police raided the apartment and seized the cash,” he said in a Facebook post, adding that police were also aware of the matter and the transfer of money from the Prime Minister’s Office was not a secret.
Najib’s statement comes almost a month after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said it would call Najib for questioning following his claim that RM3.5 million allegedly taken by security officers guarding the Prime Minister’s Office on the night of the May 9 polls belonged to Umno.
The Pekan MP made the claim following the arrest of 17 people, comprising officers and security guards of the Prime Minister’s Department, for allegedly misappropriating the funds.
In June, Commercial Crime Investigations Department director Amar Singh was reported to have said that no one from Umno had come forward to claim the cash seized from a luxury apartment in Pavilion Residences.
This despite there being claims by several Umno leaders, including party veteran Shahrir Abdul Samad and then secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, that RM116.7 million cash in 26 currencies seized from the apartment belonged to the party.
Najib today insisted that the money belonged to Umno.
“Umno is now engaging lawyers to negotiate with authorities for the return of the money,” he added.