KUALA LUMPUR: The RM3.2 billion deposited into Datuk Seri Najib Razak private accounts in multiple transactions between 2011 and 2013 were political funds donated by the Saudi Arabia kingdom.
The original documented evidence to prove the Arab political donations are all now in possession of current 7th Prime Minister (PM7) Tun Mahathir Mohamad.
Testifying as the 1st defence witness at his trial involving SRC International Sdn Bhd’s RM42 million funds, Najib identified as Prince Faisal Turki, Blackstone Real Estate Partner, and Tanore Finance Corp.
The funds were part of political donations from Saudi monarch King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Kuala Lumpur High Court was told today, Wednesday, December 4, 2019.
All the original royal letters to prove the Saudi political donations had remained in Najib’s former office in the Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya, by definition under Mahathir’s custody.
Najib said King Abdullah donated the funds as he knew it was an election year in 2013 and the Saudi monarch did not wish to see another Arab Spring-lime wave to sweep into Malaysia.
“King Abdullah saw Malaysia as an exemplary Muslim country,” read the former premier from his statement as the 1st defence witness before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
A total of 23 transactions that were made into Najib’s private accounts in AmBank – USD99.9 million dollars or RM304 million transferred in 2011; US269.9 million dollars or RM831.9 million in 2012, and US680.9 million or RM2.08 billion in 2013.
Najib was informed in July 2013 about his account balance of around RM2.1 billion from the donations, and it made him uncomfortable.
He was worried, rightly so, that if the information about him having so much money in his accounts were to be leaked, “it would definitely be manipulated out of context politically.”
Najib then returned RM2.02 billion (US$620 million) to Tanore Finance Corp and transfer and kept some RM162 million in another bank account, which he opened in August 2013.
He said his decision to return the funds “was a gesture of goodwill in return to the Saudi royal family.”
Currently Najib faces 7 charges involving government-link company (GLC) SRC International Sdn Bhd’s RM42 million.
The charges were 3 each for criminal breach of trust (CBT) under Section 409 of the Penal Code and money laundering under Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (AMLA) Act 2001, and one for abuse of power under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act (MACC) 2009.
The Pekan MP had allegedly committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd in Jalan Raja Chulan and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011, and Feb 10, 2015.
On November 11 this year, Mohd Nazlan had ordered Najib to enter his defence against all the charges.
Najib testified that supporting documents confirming the donations were shown to him by his former special officer Datuk Azlin Alias.
The documents were forwarded to AmBank and the matter was reported to Bank Negara Malaysia and then its Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz at the material time.
As Umno president and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, Najib was mandated to collect donations to be spent on election machinery in anticipation of a general election, a practice done by past party presidents and chairmen, including Mahahir when he was the country’s PM4 (1981 – 2003).
Najib used the donations mainly to fund several corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and elections expenses to ensure Barisan Nasional remained as the ruling government in the 13th General Election (GE13).
On the communications between fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho @ Jho Low and AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping over his private accounts, Najib said he had never personally contacted Jho Low over any specific transaction.
He was actually briefed about his banking details by Azlin.
Former SRC chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil was the authorised person to manage Najib’s accounts.
“I do not understand why the bank did not deal directly with Datuk Azlin or Nik Faisal (Ariff Kamil) concerning this matter,” said Najib. – December 4, 2019