Malaysia's anti-graft agency to probe top cop over seized funds in Australia


KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's anti-graft agency will investigate a senior police officer over AUS$320,000 (S$329,000) in his bank account that was seized by Australian authorities last year.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said on Tuesday (March 6) that it had opened an investigation paper into Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd, director of the criminal investigation department of the Royal Malaysia Police, after receiving a report on the case.

MACC's deputy chief commissioner Azam Baki told news agency Bernama that the MACC should be given time and space to carry out the investigation.

The issue came to light last Friday (March 2) after the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Australian police had frozen the funds in Mr Najmuddin's Sydney bank account on suspicion of money laundering, after almost A$290,000 was banked into the account from five different states in the month of Sept 2016 alone.

Mr Najmuddin, 59, had denied any wrongdoing but said he will not attempt to claim the money as court action was too expensive. He said the money was meant for his son's aviation studies and his daughter's master's degree.

Malaysia's national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun defended Mr Najmuddin last Friday, saying it was baseless to assume that the senior cop was involved in any form of indictable offences.

"Investigations revealed the account was opened in 2011 to ... finance the son's education. It was reactivated in 2016 to plan for his daughter's master's degree." He added that Mr Najmuddin was able to provide documents to prove the funds originated from the sale of his house, valued at RM700,000 (S$236,000) at the time.

An internal inquiry by the Malaysian police's integrity unit had also cleared Mr Najmuddin of any wrongdoing.

On Wednesday (March 7) opposition MP Teo Nie Ching volunteered to organise a crowdfunding campaign to enable Mr Najmuddin to travel to Australia and engage lawyers to retrieve the funds that he says were wrongly seized.

Ms Teo told reporters her offer was conditional on Mr Najmuddin publicly declaring his assets.

“He needs to prove that he really cannot afford the legal action and show us the necessary documents to prove the source of the funds,” she said, as quoted by The Star.