Umno claims millions of dollars seized by police from Najib belongs to the party

Boxes being loaded into a Royal Malaysia Police truck at the Pavilion Residents in Kuala Lumpur on May 18, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Umno is seeking to recover party funds seized by police from residential units linked to former prime minister Najib Razak.

Malaysia's biggest political party claimed that the money was being transferred to Umno's acting leadership after Datuk Seri Najib had resigned.

The cash in various currencies seized from apartments linked to Mr Najib at the Pavilion Residences in Kuala Lumpur last week has reached nearly RM130 million (S$43.8 million) as investigators finally concluded the counting task.

They also said the gems and jewellery seized are worth in the region of RM200 million, but professional jewellers would be called in to do a proper estimate.

The Umno communications team, in a statement on Thursday (May 24), said the party Constitution allows for Umno presidents to source and manage funds, including those for the general election.

The statement said: "This was no different from our former president Najib, who had sourced for campaign contributions prior to GE14, and was managing our party's funding.

"However, the remainder of these funds were seized by police after Najib stepped down as Umno and Barisan Nasional president, before it could be transferred to the current acting leadership."

The statement did not say why these funds were not transferred to the party earlier, including for use during the general election on May 9, or why the banknotes were from different countries.

Mr Najib stepped down as Umno president on May 12, three days after the Umno-led Barisan Nasional shockingly lost in the polls.

Umno said that when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had stepped down as Umno president in 2003, he had also handed back RM1.2 billion to the party and its three million members.

The statement said: "Umno seeks to recover these funds and requests the police to release and return them to the party after completion of all investigations.

"Umno is in the process of rebuilding and the return of our party funds will help in this process."

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