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Najib reiterates innocence after 1MDB verdict, says money was spent on orphans and ‘welfare programmes’

Najib reiterates innocence after 1MDB verdict, says money was spent on orphans and ‘welfare programmes’

FILE PHOTO: Malaysia's former Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak has reiterated his innocence after a guilty verdict in his first 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial, claiming that a majority of the money that he was accused of misappropriating was used for welfare activities.

In a video posted on his Facebook page on Monday night (Aug 3), Najib said that 99 per cent of the money was spent on corporate social responsibility activities.

“It was not for personal expenses or for my own comfort. As I said before, the court themselves verified that the money was not used for personal use. My contribution of RM400,000 (US$94,856) to Rumah Penyayang Tun Abdul Razak (orphanage) in Pekan was to look after orphans and their schooling expenses. For that, I was punished and fined RM2 million, because I contributed for orphans.

READ: Former Malaysia PM Najib Razak sentenced to 12 years in jail following guilty verdict in 1MDB trial

“I was also fined RM3.25 million because I had donated RM650,000 to UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) in Johor, Penang and Kedah for their welfare programmes," he said. 

Under the law, those convicted of money laundering will face a maximum of 15 years jail and a fine of RM5 million, or five times the amount, whichever is higher, for each charge.

Najib stated that there were many examples where he spent money not for himself, but for the party and the people.

He said that his charitable acts had resulted in broad support among the grassroots.

“I swear I will fight against this injustice and I will make full use of the appeal process,” he said in the video.

Shafee Abdullah, chief lawyer of Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak, arrives in court in Kuala Lumpur on Sep 20, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

On Jul 28, Najib was sentenced to 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million following a guilty verdict in his first corruption trial involving millions of ringgit linked to state fund 1MDB.

The charges include abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust.

High Court judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali said when reading the judgment: “I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. I therefore find the accused guilty and convict the accused on all seven charges."

The charges against Najib, who served as prime minister from 2009 to 2018, involved the transfer of RM42 million from former 1MDB unit SRC International into his personal bank accounts in 2014 and 2015. 

READ: 'We believe in our innocence', say Najib and lawyers as they pledge to appeal 1MDB verdict

He was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of power.

For each count of criminal breach of trust, Najib was sentenced to 10 years' jail; for each count of money laundering, 10 years.

For abuse of power, the judge handed out a sentence of 12 years' jail and a RM210 million fine. If Najib fails to pay the fine, a five-year jail sentence will be served in lieu.

Following mitigation, Najib managed to secure a stay of execution pending appeal. He however had to pay an additional RM1 million in bail with two sureties and was ordered to be present at his nearest police station on the first and 15th day of every month.

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak arrives at the Duta Court complex awaiting a verdict in his corruption trial in Kuala Lumpur on Jul 28, 2020. (Photo: Mohd RASFAN / AFP)

He has filed an appeal at the High Court, while maintaining that he had not asked for nor was offered the RM42 million as a bribe.

His counsel Shafee Abdullah said that he hoped for the appeal process to take place within the next three months and added that should the appeal fail, he would bring the case to the Federal Court.

Source: CNA/kd


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