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(Update) Return seized RM116.7mil to Umno, Najib urges police

New Straits Times logo New Straits Times 9/9/2018 Veena Babulal

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has urged the authorities to immediately return the RM116.7 million in cash that were seized from his residences in June.

Najib said according to the law, any seized assets must be returned to its owner if no charges were pressed within three months.

“Even though I have spoken to several local media on this issue, I now choose to explain things in further detail because despite efforts and negotiations, the police refuse to return the money to the party (Umno),” he said in a Facebook post today.

He reiterated that the most of the money seized belonged to Umno.

“Many people may not know that the Umno president is in charge of handling all party assets, including political donations from businessmen, individuals, non-governmental organisations and corporations.

“The Umno president is also tasked to transfer (funds) and make payments for the party’s needs during elections,” he said, adding that these duties are enshrined in Umno’s constitution.

Najib also said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad openly admitted that he handed over RM1.4 billion in cash and shares to Tun Abdullah Badawi when he took over as premier in 2003.

“Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Sept 6 2015 admitted that he does not question the president’s special funds because it has been the norm for the president to handle them.”

Cash from political donations, he said, would be channeled to all 202 parliamentary and 505 state seats nationwide during general elections.

a group of people that are talking to each other: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has urged the authorities to immediately return the RM116.7 million in cash that were seized from his residences in June. (File pix) © Provided by Media Prima Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has urged the authorities to immediately return the RM116.7 million in cash that were seized from his residences in June. (File pix)

“When Dr Mahathir ordered the construction of the Prime Minister’s Office and Seri Perdana, he also commissioned the construction of safe rooms and safes at both locations,” he said, adding that this was where Umno’s election funds were kept.

After Umno lost the 14th General Election, he said, the money was trasnferred to a condominium unit in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur as a temporary measure.

Najib said he was made to understand that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission detained several security personnel from the Prime Minister’s Department who allegedly stole RM3.5 million during the transfer of the funds.

“Before we could decide how to handle the money and as we were waiting for the Umno election to decide the new party president, the condominium was raided by the police and money seized.”

Najib claimed Dr Mahathir and the police knew of the money’s existence as it was no secret.

“Therefore, Umno has prepared a team of lawyers to negotiate with the authorities to reclaim the money.”

Police in June raided six premises linked to Najib as part of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) probe and seized cash and assets valued between RM900 million and RM1.1 billion.

Besides 72 large luggage bags containing luxury items, police also seized 35 bags containing RM116.7 million in 27 currencies.

Najib in his statement said he will issue a detailed explanation on the seized jewellery and designer handbags.

On the numerous foreign currencies found in the residences, Najib said they were leftover legal tender brought home after overseas trips.

“However, a certain donor contributed money in the form of Singaporean dollars,” he claimed.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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