Malaysian anti-graft agency takes statement from PM Najib over cash in personal accounts

Malaysian PM Najib Razak speaking at the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysian PM Najib Razak speaking at the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur. PHOTO: AFP

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK/BLOOMBERG) - The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has taken a statement from Prime Minister Najib Razak over SRC International and the RM2.6 billion (S$834 million) found in his personal bank accounts, said to be a donation.

The Prime Minister's statement was recorded at a 2.5-hour meeting on Saturday (Dec 5).

He was cooperative during the questioning, the MACC said in a statement. It did not provide further details.

On Thursday, MACC officers met Datuk Seri Najib at the Prime Minister's Office to arrange a suitable date and time for a statement to be recorded.

Mr Najib had recently committed to giving a statement to MACC to assist in its ongoing probe, saying that he was advised to do so by Attorney-General Mohd Apandi Ali as it would hasten the investigations.

Earlier this week, the Commission recorded the statements of SRC International director Suboh Md Yassin and businessman Low Taek Jho as part of the probe into the former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary.

Mr Najib has said the funds in accounts that have since been closed were political donations from the Middle East rather than public money.

That was also the initial conclusion reached by the commission in August in its preliminary investigations. 

It also said that it had handed over results of its investigations into the alleged money received by Datuk Seri Najib to the Attorney-General.

Mr Najib has denied taking money for personal gain and has been cited as saying that the funds were to meet the needs of the party and the community, and that this was not a new practice.

The donations controversy has dogged the ruling coalition for about five months and led to periodic drops in the price of shares and in the value of the ringgit.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Parliament on Thursday that the funds were not from 1MDB, and that it would breach the law to comment further as investigations were ongoing.

The controversies have sparked political tensions within the ruling Umno and led thousands of anti-government protesters to rally in the capital in August.

Umno is holding its annual general assembly meeting from Dec. 8 to 12.

In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that the money made its way into the Prime Minister's personal bank accounts just before the May 2013 general election.