MACC to Quiz Najib over Claim That RM3.5M Belongs to Umno

- Advertisement - [resads_adspot id="2"]

Burning questions:

  • Is there anymore Umno money?
  • Was there any attempt to get the money from those who are currently occupying the PMO?
  • Does Umno’s constitution allow the president to keep huge amounts of cash belonging to the party?
  • Why was the money not kept in a bank where it could earn interest?

Graft investigators want to “interview” Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak over his statement that the RM3.5 million allegedly taken by security personnel from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) belongs to Umno.

It is understood that the investigators, who are conducting an in-depth probe following the arrest and remand of 17 suspects, want to find out if “there is anymore Umno money”.

Following the former prime minister’s acknowledgement that the cash, in this case, is Umno’s, there are questions on why no one had asked for the money to be returned or handed over to the party.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki confirmed they wanted to record Najib’s statement on the matter.

“Was there any attempt to get the money from those who are currently occupying the PMO?

“We would like to get an explanation about his claim. If he indeed said it was Umno’s money that was taken by the men, then this needs to be explained,” Azam told The Star.

Azam, however, said no date has been set on when the MACC officers would meet the former prime minister, but it would be done soon.

On Aug 8, 17 security personnel were remanded for five days for allegedly taking the cash from the PMO.

They are said to have taken the campaign money when they learnt that Barisan Nasional was losing the general election.

All the suspects are being investigated under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009.

It has been reported that MACC has seized RM1.19 million in cash and three new vehicles – a Subaru Impreza, a Toyota Vios and a Honda motorcycle.

Following the arrests, Najib, in a statement to Malaysiakini, said the RM3.5 million belonged to Umno.

Shafwan Zaidon

He had also demanded that aside from the RM3.5 million, cash amounting to RM114 million, which was earlier seized by police in a series of raids, be returned to Umno.

Apparently, the guards had “noticed” there was money in the PMO prior to the elections and had been “eyeing” them.

“When the results didn’t look like it was in favour of Barisan, the guards, who have access cards to the PMO, conducted the ‘black ops’.

“We believe it was done around 2am to 3am when the office was empty,” said an MACC source.

It is understood that the cash was taken from the office of a “very senior staff member of the then Prime Minister”.

Azam added that MACC, instead of the police, was investigating the case because the security personnel – all civil servants – had access to a secure area and had abused their power.

“They allegedly abused their positions and misappropriated funds.

“That is why we are looking into this case,” he said.

Meanwhile, Penang-based pressure group Aliran has questioned Umno over the huge amounts of money kept in hard cash, including the millions of ringgit seized from Najib, which he said belonged to the party.

Aliran’s P Ramakrishnan questioned why the huge amount of money was not deposited in banks instead.

“Doesn’t Umno have faith in our banks for the money to be safely kept in the bank earning interest? What is the responsibility of the treasurer? Does he play any role at all?” he asked in a statement.

Najib had said the RM3.5 million was to be used for Umno’s election campaign and was being kept outside the strong room and safes in his office.

He said the RM114 million cash seized by police in several raids at properties linked to his family members was also party funds.

But Aliran questioned if the Umno constitution allowed the president to keep party funds in that manner.

“What is the role of the treasurer then?” it asked. “Normally, the money of a society is managed by the treasurer. In Umno’s case, we rarely hear of the treasurer.”

It added that as required by law, party funds should be kept in a bank and operated by chosen officials.

“Payment can only be made for any big expenditure incurred following a decision of the Umno Supreme Council.

“No party constitution gives absolute authority or discretion to the party president to use so much money as to when and how without being accountable,” said Ramakrishnan.

“Don’t the Umno members query this practice?” he asked.

Earlier reports:

Aug 10, RM3.5M Taken from PM’s Office were Umno’s Funds

Aug 8, Security Team in PM’s Dept Arrested in RM3.5M Graft Case