‘I am not a thief’, Najib’s defence in a nutshell

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 – As far as quotes go, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak might have been wise to consider something else to say when defending himself at a press conference today than “I am not a thief”.

Having been slapped with 25 more corruption as well as money laundering charges by both the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police over the RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal account in 2013, Najib claimed his innocence when speaking to the media.

“As we all know, the RM2.6 billion issue was used relentlessly to criticise and tarnish my name all this while. All the charges today will give me a chance to clear my name.

“I am not a thief. I hope my journey in court will uphold the truth and put to rest this RM2.6 billion issue once and for all,” he told reporters before leaving the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

The quote is reminiscent of a similar line by then United States president Richard Nixon, who famously said “I am not a crook”, and continued to deny any wrongdoing when faced with various allegations over the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s. He eventually resigned as president after irrefutable evidence was revealed proving his culpability in the scandal.

RM3.5 million bail in 6 instalments 

Najib had been allowed bail of RM3.5 million, and the court accepted for the amount to be paid in instalments.

Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi said the instalments, as requested by Najib’s defence team, must be fully paid up by September 28.

“The bail is to be paid, starting with RM1 million tomorrow, and subsequently, in daily instalments of RM500,000 from next Monday to Friday,” she said.

The prosecution had earlier asked the court to impose a RM5 million bail, while the defence asked that the court set it at RM500,000.

Najib: Public needs to comprehend facts and figures

According to a report in The Star, Najib also downplayed the latest charges against him, saying that once the public comprehends the facts and figures behind the case, they will realise that it is not such an “explosive” accusation.

“Once we understand the facts and we do some calculations, we will come to the conclusion that I returned a large sum of money right after the 13th General Election,” he said.

Najib was today first charged with four counts of corruption under the MACC Act and later with another 21 charges under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).

He had been in custody at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya from yesterday afternoon until about 8am today, when he was sent to the commercial crimes investigation department office in Kuala Lumpur for further questioning.

Raid at Najib’s mother’s house

Meanwhile, Malaysikini reported that police had raided the home of Najib’s mother, Tun Rahah Mohammad Noah in Jalan Eaton, Kuala Lumpur, earlier today.

The raiding party of 14 policemen were even said to have broken through the ceiling of the house, but failed to find anything. A police source told the news portal that the 4pm raid was related to the ongoing investigations into Najib’s role in the 1MDB scandal.