Malaysia’s anti-graft agency to appeal against ‘Najib not guilty’ decision

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak at a Deepavali event in November 2013
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak at a Deepavali event in November 2013

The country’s anti-graft body has announced its intention to appeal against the Attorney General’s decision to clear the PM Najib Razak of corruption.

Just 24 hours after the initial verdict, which said that there was no wrongdoing over the RM2.92bn (US$681 million) deposited into the PM’s personal bank account, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said it would seek a review of the conclusion, as has been reported by the Financial Times.

The anti-corruption commission will appeal to a special legal review panel over the verdict given by Mohamed Apandi Ali, the Attorney General. The graft authority is also seeking a review of the Attorney General’s order to close the case on an alleged misappropriation of funds at SRC International, which is an old subsidiary of 1MDB.

The anti-graft agency’s challenge, which they called a “normal process”, should not be interpreted as a direct rejection of the verdict earlier this week. However, it does delay Najib’s attempts to put all this behind him – in what he has called an “unnecessary distraction”.

This is yet another twist in the plot of the ongoing story that has been capturing the world media for several months. This week’s challenge further worsens tensions in our country’s government system, as the investigations into corruption, especially against Mr Najib and the 1MDB state investment fund, continue.

Earlier this week, an apparently ‘well-placed’ source connected to the Saudi royal family came forward to confirm Najib’s claims that the billions deposited in his account were a personal gift, to benefit his 2013 general election campaign. But sceptics have raised concerns about this statement, mainly because there is so little information on the subject, especially the details about who paid Najib and why.

For example, 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.

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