Malaysia

Najib says will not disclose source of Sabah Umno’s political donation

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak refused tonight to disclose the source of a political donation received by Umno Sabah that was the subject of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.

“It is a political donation. All parties have a right to receive political donations. As long as it is through the right channels, it is not an offence,” the Umno president (picture) told reporters after chairing a Barisan Nasional (BN) supreme council meeting.

“We are not at liberty to disclose... the opposition also receives donations and they don’t disclose,” he said.

Yesterday, Parliament was told the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had cleared Musa of graft and money-laundering allegations after finding that the over S$16 million (RM40 million) allegedly channelled to the Sabah chief minister through corrupt means was meant for Sabah Umno’s use.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said the Attorney-General’s Chambers had shelved the matter after finding no element of corruption in the case, which was first raised by whistleblower site Sarawak Report earlier this year.

In April this year, Sarawak Report had revealed documents allegedly from the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) showing that a Sabah lawyer was holding some US$30 million in a Swiss bank account for Musa.

The report also claimed that a paper trail showed that the millions in euro as well as US, Hong Kong and Singapore dollars had been channelled from several firms managed by Hong Kong-based timber trader Michael Chia to a number of British Virgin Island companies and subsequently to the lawyer’s Swiss account.

Musa has since denied any link with Chia, who was arrested and charged with money laundering after attempting to smuggle S$16 million (RM40 million) back to Malaysia in 2008.

According to media reports, Chia had at the time allegedly told the Hong Kong authorities that the money belonged to Musa.

Musa had previously accused Sarawak Report of defaming him, claiming the graft allegations were likely part of a conspiracy by his detractors who wanted to topple Barisan Nasional (BN) in the east Malaysian state.

He had said he would offer full co-operation to the authorities if he was required to but stressed that in the meantime, his focus was on serving the state instead of “entertaining these frivolous allegations”.

Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) said today it was appalled with the government’s conclusion that “no element of corruption was proven” in its investigation of Musa.

The anti-graft watchdog urged the authorities today to ensure a full disclosure of the political contribution.

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