Prime Minister Najib Razak was cleared of corruption allegations earlier this week, having always claimed that the money which was deposited in his personal bank account was a gift for the 2013 general election campaign. Now, the BBC reports that a Saudi source has confirmed this.
Specifically, the RM2.08 billion donation was intended to be used to help the PM’s coalition employ a strategic communication team, fund social programs via party campaigns and focus the campaign on Sarawak, according to the source, which is said to be ‘well-placed’.
The reason for the assistance, said the same source, is because there was concern at the time about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on Malaysia’s opposition alliance, including the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).
The Muslim Brotherhood is considered to be a terrorist organisation in Riyadh, according to the Saudi source, and this donation was aimed at cutting of their influence in Malaysia. Although, there is minimal evidence showing that the Muslim Brotherhood is supported in this country.
Donations of this manner are not at all uncommon for the Saudi Royal Family, claims the source, and this donation was green-lighted right from the top by the late King Abdullah, who provided the funds from both state and personal finances.
However, the Wall Street Journal reported an opposing comment from a Saudi government official that specified the Saudi Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance have no information about the donation and that a personal donations from the royal family to a foreign leader is unprecedented.
“The Saudi ministries of foreign affairs and finance had no information about such a gift and that a royal donation to the personal bank account of a foreign leader would be unprecedented”
– Saudi government official
The Attorney General in charge of the investigations, Mohamed Apandi Ali, ruled that the matter is settled as his probe into the matter supports the PM’s claims that the money was a personal donation. The Attorney General is satisfied that PM has not committed any criminal offence with regard to the donation and that it is not necessary for Malaysia to enlist outside legal advice on the matter.
The Attorney General also stated that, of the RM2.08 billion initially deposited in PM Najib Tun Razak’s account, RM2.03 billion was returned to the Saudi Royal family in August 2013 as it was not used in the campaign.