Malaysia: Najib Questioned Over Fraud Scandal

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak answered questions Tuesday from anti-corruption officials about a multi-billion dollar graft scandal that has hounded him since his ouster from office earlier this month.

Najib RazakFormer Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (Photo: Firdaus Latif, CC BY-SA 2.0)The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, MACC, ordered Najib to explain a transfer of US$10.6 million into his personal bank account, according to Reuters. That is a measly slice of the near $700 million he is accused of embezzling from state fund 1MDB since 2009.

Following his arrival at MACC headquarters for questioning, the head of the country’s anti-graft agency recounted a string of threats and intimidation deployed against officers and witnesses attempting to investigate the alleged fraud in 2015.

Breaking down into tears, Mohd Shukri Abdull, told reporters at a press conference that he “almost died” while initially looking into the missing funds.

“I was sent a bullet to my house. I never told my wife or my family. I never even made a police report,” said Shukri, who was restored as head of the anti-corruption agency following Najib’s election defeat. “We had our own intelligence sources, that I would be arrested and locked up, because I was accused of being part of a conspiracy to bring down the government.”

Shukri said he was forced to flee Malaysia and seek police protection in the US after officers working for him were incarcerated and multiple witnesses disappeared.

“We wanted to bring money that was stolen back to our country. Instead we were accused of bringing down the country. We were accused of being traitors,” Shukri said.

Najib, who has consistently denied wrongdoing, told reporters after emerging from MACC headquarters that he will return to finish being questioned Thursday. He said he augmented his original 2015 statement to the anti-graft agency “with verification of documents and several more complete details.”

The new MACC probe is centered around how $10.6 million went from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB, to Najib’s account. The money trail from SRC is more easily tracked because the transactions were made through Malaysian entities, according to Reuters.

Transfers of 1MDB funds, on the other hand, went through foreign entities. Authorities in at least six countries are investigating.

The US Department of Justice has filed civil lawsuits over the past two years seeking to seize some $1.7 billion worth of 1MDB-linked assets and said it “looked forward to working with Malaysian law enforcement authorities.”