Najib should not be holding such amounts of money if it was not for the political party
by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by BERNAMA
FORMER Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad questioned the source of the money seized in Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s (picture) condominium, despite accepting the court decision to dismiss the government’s forfeiture claim.
The tide turned in favour of Najib in his legal battle last week, when the prosecution failed to link the RM114 million cash seized in his residence to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) case.
Dr Mahathir, however, demanded Najib to show the origins of the funds if it were not from 1MDB as per the court ruling.
“He must show beyond reasonable doubt that the source of the funds was from certain parties.
“This must be shown clearly to the court. If not, we want to know whether Najib paid income taxes out of the huge amount of money?” Dr Mahathir said in a video posted on his Facebook account last Friday.
As the then PM, he said Najib should not be holding such amounts of money if it was not for the political party and asked why it was not deposited into the party’s account.
Last Thursday, the Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court had dismissed the government’s bid to forfeit RM114 million in cash which was seized at the Pavilion Residences on May 17, 2018.
Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin also ruled that the prosecution has failed to tie the funds to any criminal breach of trust case.
“As the predicate offence was not proven, the issue that the monies were obtained from illegal activities do not arise.
“Thus, it cannot be said that the money to be forfeited is the result of the conduct of the predicate offence,” Muhammad Jamil said at the hearing.
He added that the applicant failed to prove that the money, amounting to RM114,164,393.44, was proceeds from money laundering.
The judge, however, made no order for the money, which is held by Bank Negara Malaysia, to be returned to the owners.
Najib’s lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said he would be sending a legal letter to the prosecution for the monies to be returned to their rightful owners.
In 2018, the police conducted a raid at the luxury unit in KL, owned by Obyu Holdings Sdn Bhd, a month after the collapse of Najib’s government after the 14th General Election.
The authorities confiscated 284 boxes of handbags and 72 bags containing cash, jewellery and expensive watches, including the RM114 million in 26 currencies — the biggest haul in Malaysian history.
Umno and Najib are third-party claimants to the monies.
In 2019, the prosecution filed a forfeiture application against Obyu Holdings to forfeit the monies, 11,991 units of jewellery, 401 watches and 16 watch accessories, 234 pairs of spectacles and 306 handbags.
The ruling on the seized cash came about two days after Najib’s appeal in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case concluded.
Justice Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who led a three-member panel, said the court would reserve judgment until a date yet to be fixed as time is needed to deliberate on the submissions from the defence and prosecution.
Najib appeals to overturn the conviction and jail sentence for the misappropriation of RM42 million belonging to SRC International.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Shafee’s money laundering case also started last week.
The lawyer allegedly received RM9.5 million from Najib via a cheque for RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013, and another for RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014.
He is also facing two charges of being involved in transactions of proceeds from unlawful activity, by making inaccurate statements and in contravention of paragraph 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 for financial years ending Dec 31, 2013, and Dec 31, 2014.