Umno has secret unaudited account for political donations – prosecutors

This was revealed in rebuttal to Umno’s claim over RM114 million in forfeiture suit.

Umno has a secret unaudited account to receive political donations, prosecutors revealed today.

This was revealed during the prosecution’s rebuttal to claims that RM114.16 million cash, sought by former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and Umno in the government’s 1MDB-linked forfeiture suit against Obyu Holdings, had belonged to the party.

In the suit’s written submissions confirmed by deputy public prosecutor Faten Hadni Khairuddin today, the prosecution claimed that this is because some of Umno’s own leaders denied having knowledge about the funds.

The prosecution alleged that police statements recorded from several party leaders, such as former secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, and treasurers Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and Salleh Said Keruak, denied any knowledge that Najib was supposed to hold on to the money for the 14th general elections.

They claimed that the funds were proceeds from unlawful activities and originated from 1MDB.

The prosecution contended that while present party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi made an affidavit claiming the cash was Umno’s funds, that is not possible as the RM114.16 million is not denominated in ringgit but multiple foreign currencies.

“The monies are recovered from 35 bags seized by the police as affirmed by superintendent Foo Wei Min in his affidavit from the raid. It is also in various currencies and various denominations.

“Zahid himself denied the political donations are in different currencies,” the prosecution claimed in written submissions countering Najib and Umno’s third-party bid for the seized assets.

The prosecution team – led by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi – contended that there exists a secret unaudited account kept by Umno at a local bank.

They argued that the unaudited account’s existence is an offence under the Societies Act 1966, and thus went against the need for Najib to personally hold large amounts of funds in various foreign currencies.

“Zahid, Tengku Adnan, Ahmad Husni and Salleh, who had their statements recorded, denied the existence of any political donations in the form of foreign currencies.

“In fact, the evidence of Umno’s treasurer (unnamed) was that there was another unofficial, unaudited bank account that had been used by Umno since 1988 to receive political donations.

“The unaudited political donations in cash also contravenes Section 14(1)(d) and (b) of the Societies Act.

“The claim of Umno being the owner (of the RM114,164,393.44) (is) contradicted by the party’s own witnesses in their witness statements. This claim, if true, is plainly running afoul of various provisions in its party’s constitution.

“The unaccounted, unverified and unaudited nature of cash seized is also in contravention of various provisions of the Societies Act, which may result in the de-registration of Umno by the Registrar of Societies,” the prosecution claimed.

Najib has remained evasive and refused to disclose the donors’ identity even in the present proceedings.

The prosecution argued that if it is true that the seized cash is political donations, there should be no difficulty for Najib to disclose the source and identity of the donors.

“Being secretive about the identity of the donors is no defence in a third-party claim. Truth is the only defence, for truth is the ultimate defence. Truth does not change like a chameleon,” the prosecution contended.

“The feeble claim advanced by Najib and Umno that the seized cash is political donations pales in comparison with the weight of evidence which suggests otherwise. No amount of finesse could whitewash the traces of wrongdoings stemming from the cash seized.”

The prosecution submitted that Najib is not “the Ali Baba who discovered the thieves in the Arabian Nights tale, or Jim Hawkins’ Treasure Island who found great fortune falling into his lap”.

On Sept 3, 2019, it was reported that Najib was among several third parties seeking to stake a claim in the forfeiture suit involving cash and jewellery among others seized by the authorities from Pavilion Residences in Kuala Lumpur in 2018.

The other third-party claimants in the forfeiture suit are Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, Umno, and Lebanese jeweller Global Royalty Trading SAL.

Najib and Umno, through their counsels Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Hariharan Tara Singh, will reply to the prosecution’s contention during court proceedings on March 11 and 15.

By : HIDIR REDUAN ABDUL RASHID – MALAYSIAKINI

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