Fri, Oct 26, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Malaysia charges former prime minister Razak

Bloomberg

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak and former Malaysian minister of finance Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah have been charged with six counts of criminal breach of trust, accusing them of misusing 6.6 billion ringgit (US$1.6 billion) of public funds.

Razak and Abdullah were jointly charged in a Kuala Lumpur court yesterday.

Both pleaded not guilty on all charges.

Their decision to “reallocate” the funds was made with committees to avoid a national default in payments, lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

Such a practice is common for the government, he said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has vowed to investigate alleged wrongdoing that took place during Najib’s administration after spending years accusing the government of covering up alleged embezzlement at state fund 1MDB and misusing public funds to garner voter support.

Members of the Cabinet have said that some election promises cannot be fulfilled because Malaysia’s finances are worse than they had expected when pledges were made.

The charge sheets did not give details of wrongdoing by Najib and Irwan.

The allegations are linked to payments made by 1MDB to an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, as well as monies linked to rail and pipeline projects — some of which involved Chinese companies, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Deputy Chief Commissioner Azam Baki said.

Since his election victory in May, Mahathir has canceled or suspended several major projects backed by Chinese interests, including the East Coast Rail Link and three pipeline projects.

The charges presented against Najib and Irwan are breaches of trust on 1.86 billion ringgit of Malaysian government funds on Dec. 21; 2016, and from last year, 220 million ringgit related to the Malaysian Federal Consolidated Fund on Aug. 3; 1.3 billion ringgit related to the fund on Aug. 10; 1.95 trillion Chinese yuan (US$280.6 billion) of government funds on Aug. 23; and 2 billion ringgit of government funds on Dec. 18.

Bail was set at 1 million ringgit each for Najib and Irwan.

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