Former PM to be charged over RM2.6b donation

MACC detains Najib overnight and will charge him at KL Sessions Court at 3pm today

By P PREM KUMAR / Graphic By TMR

Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak will be charged today for crimes related to the RM2.6 billion transferred to his personal bank account, the money which is allegedly part of the billions stolen from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The disgraced former prime minister (PM) was detained yesterday evening and is expected to be charged at the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Sessions Court today.

Najib was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at 4.13pm yesterday for overnight detention, after he arrived at the graft buster’s headquarters in Putrajaya.

He was called for questioning in relation to the infamous RM2.6 billion donation, which made global headlines and had contributed to the downfall of Barisan Nasional (BN) during the May 9 general election.

Yesterday’s arrest came three years ago after US newspaper The Wall Street Journal exposed the US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) transfer of allegedly 1MDB funds into Najib’s personal bank accounts.

MACC confirmed the detention of the former PM and his impending charges. In a statement, MACC said Najib will be charged under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009 at 3pm today.

The section underlines the misuse of office and position to gain gratification for oneself, family members and associates. If convicted, the Pekan MP could face a maximum imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification received.

He is also expected to be interrogated by the police to facilitate investigation under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA).

Najib had previously defended the RM2.6 billion transferred into his personal bank account as donations from Saudi Arabia’s royal family.

But exposed financial transactions showed the money originated from overseas accounts linked to 1MDB.

The police recently announced that US$972 million had been deposited into Najib’s accounts with more than 50 people being the recipients of the ill-gotten money.

US investigators said US$4.5 billion had been misappropriated from 1MDB by the company’s top officers, associates, politically connected individuals and politicians.

A global manhunt for a few 1MDB former officers are underway including the infamous Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

A book titled “Billion Dollar Whale” was recently released, which narrates how Jho Low orchestrated what is deemed as one of the world’s largest financial heists.

Najib, 65, is the country’s first former PM to be charged in court. The eldest son of the country’s second PM is already facing seven charges related to abuse of power, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering.

He was first charged in July with three counts of CBT and one charge of abuse of power involving some RM42 million allegedly funnelled to his private bank account from former 1MDB subsidiary, SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Last month, he was charged again with three counts of money laundering amounting to RM42 million under Section 4 (1)(b) of AMLA.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

In a Facebook posting on Tuesday, Najib admitted that he said “cash is king” to PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during their high point. He said the phrase, however, doesn’t mean buying support or votes using cash instead illustrates the differences of opinion of the duo on the direction of the economy.

“At that time, Dr Mahathir disagreed about BR1M (1Malaysia People’s Aid), subsidy rationalisation measures, minimum wages and increases in civil servants’ salaries and bonuses.

“He believes that the costs of labour and trade in Malaysia should be kept low because if high costs, then foreign investors will not invest in Malaysia. While my opinion is the opposite,” he said.

“I told Dr Mahathir that ‘cash is king’ because the government should not decide for the people to get help in the form of subsidies and we should return ‘cash’ in the form of BR1M for them to determine for themselves what they want to spend via this aid.”


(The story has been updated for clarity and correctness.)