Umno has had secret bank account to receive political donations since 1988
KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 11): What was supposed to be a focus on the forfeiture hearing of assets worth between RM900 million and RM1.1 billion linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has shifted to the revelation of a secret unaudited bank account held by Umno since 1988.
The ongoing case concerns Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s suit over some RM114 million in cash that was part of the loot seized from his home by police in 2018.
During proceedings last week, the prosecution led by DPP Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi told the court that during the course of their investigations, the police discovered the existence of a secret unaudited bank account held by Umno.
The bank account, as revealed in the High Court, was opened in Southern Bank (which was acquired by CIMB Bank in 2006) at Wisma Genting in 1988, and the then party leaders — including the president, deputy president and treasurer — knew about it. The president was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his deputy was the late Tun Ghafar Baba, while Tun Daim Zainuddin was party treasurer.
Subsequent Umno presidents, deputy presidents and treasurers would also have known about this secret bank account, as it was managed by them. The bank account was not audited by external auditors and the money is believed to have never been accounted for in the party’s annual financial statements.
“The evidence of Umno’s treasurer (not named) was that there was another unofficial, unaudited bank account that had been used by Umno since 1988 to receive political donations. The unaudited political donations in cash also contravened Section 14(1)(d) and (b) of the Societies Act 1966,” the prosecution told the court.
“The unaccounted, unverified and unaudited nature of cash seized is also in contravention of various provisions of the Societies Act, which may result in the de-registration of Umno by the Registrar of Societies,” the prosecution added.
It is understood that the account previously had more than RM193 million. However, in the middle of last year, that amount was withdrawn and given to a non-governmental organisation called Kelab Prihatin Graduan, police investigation revealed.
Nothing much is known about the club, but investigations into the bank account revealed that its present balance is slightly above RM2,700.
Maybe 1988 Umno president can explain secret bank account – Shahril
Published 18 m ago Updated 10 m ago
With the current crop of Umno leaders claiming ignorance over an alleged secret unaudited bank account for political donations, some believe those who led the party in the past may know more.
For Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan, the leader who may know best would be Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was party president when the account was allegedly opened in 1988.
“To my knowledge, no such account exists for Umno.
“So whatever account exists since 1988, perhaps the president during 1988 (Mahathir) can help clarify since he seems to be most enlightened about it,” Shahril told Malaysiakini.
The account was said to have been opened the same year Mahathir re-registered Umno after the party was declared unlawful by the courts due to the existence of several unregistered branches.
Mahathir had in 2015 said that during his time helming the party, political donations went into a party account that had three trustees including himself.
“The trustees would have an account. All donations, particularly for elections, are deposited into this account […]
“The trustees were also named as equity holders and property owners on behalf of Umno,” he said.
However, it is unclear whether this is the “secret” bank account.
Umno has secret unaudited account for political donations – prosecutors
Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid
Published 10 Feb 2021, 5:59 pm
Umno has a secret unaudited account to receive political donations, prosecutors revealed today.
This was revealed during the prosecution’s rebuttal to claims that RM114.16 million cash, sought by former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and Umno in the government’s 1MDB-linked forfeiture suit against Obyu Holdings, had belonged to the party.
The prosecution contended that while present party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi made an affidavit claiming the cash was Umno’s funds, that is not possible as the RM114.16 million is not denominated in ringgit but multiple foreign currencies.
“The monies are recovered from 35 bags seized by the police as affirmed by superintendent Foo Wei Min in his affidavit from the raid. It is also in various currencies and various denominations.
“Zahid himself denied the political donations are in different currencies,” the prosecution claimed in written submissions countering Najib and Umno’s third-party bid for the seized assets.
The prosecution team – led by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi – contended that there exists a secret unaudited account kept by Umno at a local bank.
They argued that the unaudited account’s existence is an offence under the Societies Act 1966, and thus went against the need for Najib to personally hold large amounts of funds in various foreign currencies.
“Zahid, Tengku Adnan, Ahmad Husni and Salleh, who had their statements recorded, denied the existence of any political donations in the form of foreign currencies.
“In fact, the evidence of Umno’s treasurer (unnamed) was that there was another unofficial, unaudited bank account that had been used by Umno since 1988 to receive political donations.
“The unaudited political donations in cash also contravenes Section 14(1)(d) and (b) of the Societies Act.
“The claim of Umno being the owner (of the RM114,164,393.44) (is) contradicted by the party’s own witnesses in their witness statements. This claim, if true, is plainly running afoul of various provisions in its party’s constitution.
“The unaccounted, unverified and unaudited nature of cash seized is also in contravention of various provisions of the Societies Act, which may result in the de-registration of Umno by the Registrar of Societies,” the prosecution claimed.
Najib has remained evasive and refused to disclose the donors’ identity even in the present proceedings.
The prosecution argued that if it is true that the seized cash is political donations, there should be no difficulty for Najib to disclose the source and identity of the donors.
“Being secretive about the identity of the donors is no defence in a third-party claim. Truth is the only defence, for truth is the ultimate defence. Truth does not change like a chameleon,” the prosecution contended.
“The feeble claim advanced by Najib and Umno that the seized cash is political donations pales in comparison with the weight of evidence which suggests otherwise. No amount of finesse could whitewash the traces of wrongdoings stemming from the cash seized.”
The prosecution submitted that Najib is not “the Ali Baba who discovered the thieves in the Arabian Nights tale, or Jim Hawkins’ Treasure Island who found great fortune falling into his lap”.
On Sept 3, 2019, it was reported that Najib was among several third parties seeking to stake a claim in the forfeiture suit involving cash and jewellery among others seized by the authorities from Pavilion Residences in Kuala Lumpur in 2018.
The other third-party claimants in the forfeiture suit are Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, Umno, and Lebanese jeweller Global Royalty Trading SAL.
Najib and Umno, through their counsels Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Hariharan Tara Singh, will reply to the prosecution’s contention during court proceedings on March 11 and 15.
PPBM man calls for probe into ‘secret Umno slush fund’
FMT Reporters -February 10, 2021 11:58 PM
PETALING JAYA: A member of PPBM’s Supreme Council has called for an investigation into an allegation of a secret Umno slush fund.
Muhammad Faiz Na’aman said the allegation of the secret bank account would implicate former Umno presidents, and was a betrayal of Umno’s members, Malaysiakini reported.
The allegation of a secret bank account was made in a suit filed by the government to seize funds which were allegedly linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Umno had claimed that money the government wanted to seize belonged to the party.
However, the prosecution claimed that the money was held in a secret unaudited account used to receive political donations and contravened provisions of the Societies Act.
Faiz was quoted as saying the fact that the account existed since 1988 would implicate former Umno presidents. At that time, Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Umno president.