On Friday, February 8, additional money laundering charges were leveled against Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur.
Najib pleaded ‘not guilty’ before judge Azman Ahmad. The charges involve the amount of RM47 million (S$ 15.7 million) from 2014. Najib allegedly received this amount, obtained from illegal proceeds, in 3 of his AMPrivate banking accounts.
On the previous day, Thursday, the High Court gave Najib a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA), following a decision from the Court to permit an application made on January 28 by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to drop three charges against the former Prime Minister.
Should Najib be convicted, he faces either a maximum fine of RM5 million (S$ 1.67 million), a maximum jail term of 5 years, or both, since the charges were framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.
According to Manoj Kurup, the deputy public prosecutor, who recommended that a personal bond be imposed on the former Prime Minister since no bail was imposed from the High Court, “We also take into consideration that the accused is already facing many charges and has posted over RM6 million bail. We are agreeable to a personal bond.”
The lead counsel for Najib is Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who expressed gratitude to the prosecution for the recommendation for the personal bond.
However, Muhammad said he had objections to the additional charges of money laundering. “These charges were substantively the same charges the prosecution bulldozed over to the High Court (on Jan 28) and yesterday, the AG said he withdrew the charges as there was a fundamental error bringing the case to the High Court before going to the lower court.”
As it stands, the former Prime Minster has been charged seven times in court with 42 counts, including misconduct, abuse of his post, money laundering, corruption, and criminal breach of trust.
He has pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all accusations.