Malaysia’s Former PM Gets 12 Years for Corruption

  • Najib Razak's sentence is 12 years for abuse of power, and ten years for each of the remaining six counts of money laundering and breach of trust.
  •  “After considering all evidence in this trial, I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
  • The sentences, set to run concurrently, will however be suspended pending an appeal.

A Malaysian court has sentenced Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to twelve years in prison and a €42 million fine. He was found guilty of seven corruption charges— three counts of money laundering, three counts of breach of trust, and one count of abuse of power— brought in the first case related to the 1MDB investment fund scandal.

Najib Razak is a Malaysian politician who served as the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia from 2009 to 2018. On 28 July 2020, the High Court convicted Najib on seven counts of abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust, becoming the first Prime Minister of Malaysia to be convicted of corruption.

Najib Razak’s sentence is 12 years for abuse of power, and ten years for each of the remaining six counts of money laundering and breach of trust. He will serve all sentences simultaneously.

The Kuala Lumpur Supreme Court judge found the former head of government guilty of all seven charges, which were linked to the diversion into his private accounts of 42 million ringgit (€8.4 million) from SRC International, a subsidiary of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Najib Razak, who ruled the country between April 2009 and May 2018, has always maintained he is innocent of the accusations, and claimed to have been deceived by Malaysian businessman Jho Low. Jho Low was a close adviser to the then-prime minister, and is now fleeing justice.

Najib’s defense was that Jho Low had ties to the Saudi royal house and led Najib to believe that the funds came from King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz, who died in 2015.

The judge rejected the argument, stating Najib “made a mistake by not confirming the veracity” of the donation, despite having the necessary mechanisms to do so, and did not even send a letter of thanks.

The judge also considered the link between the former prime minister and Jho Low, who was a strategist in the corruption plan, to be proven.

Judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali told the Kuala Lumpur High Court, “after considering all evidence in this trial, I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal or 1MDB scandal is an ongoing political scandal occurring in Malaysia. In 2015, Malaysia’s then-Prime Minister Najib Razak was accused of channelling over RM 2.67 billion (≈ US$700 million) from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a government-run strategic development company, to his personal bank accounts.

“I am surely not satisfied with the result,” Najib told reporters. “This is definitely not the end of the world, because there’s a process of appeal, and we hope that we would be successful then.” The sentences, set to run concurrently, will however be suspended pending an appeal.

The 1MDB corruption scheme emerged in 2015, when a journalistic investigation exposed the diversion of several million dollars from the state fund to the private accounts of Najib , the fund’s founder and then-Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Najib has 35 other charges of corruption pending and four more trials. Together with his advisers, Najib diverted an equivalent of €3.2 billion from the Malaysian state’s investment mechanism to his private accounts. This scandal led to his fall from power in 2018.

Dr Muhammad Mohan, president of Transparency International organization in Malaysia, welcomed the verdict stating that it would “boost confidence in the nation’s judiciary system and rule of law.” He added, “there could be a group who feel that, because [Najib] can appeal, anything can happen.”

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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