PETALING JAYA: Umno needs to prove that the money seized from the residences linked to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak legally belongs to them before the party has any legitimacy to claim it, says Transparency International (TI) Malaysia.
Its president Datuk Akhbar Satar said since the authorities were investigating the case under the Penal Code, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 and Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA), Umno needed to provide a paper trail or documented evidence to show where the money came from.
“You have to prove the money came from legal sources such as from borrowed money, business dealings, inheritance, or even the lottery,” he told The Star.
Akhbar said even if the money was donated, it would be difficult to prove that the money was not obtained through corruption or fraud as under the law, the authorities could still investigate and charge a person.
He added that if the corruption money had been used to buy art pieces, handbags, yacht, houses, it would be a futile effort as the money can be traced back to where it came from.
“Anyone who is being investigated will always have excuses but never underestimate law enforcement.
“The AMLA law is very powerful, where any person being investigated needs to explain in the court of law the source of money,” he said.
Umno legal adviser Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun said the process to recover the funds seized by the police could only start once the police ended their investigation.
“There is nothing much I can do (now).
“We are not supposed to interfere with police investigations,” said Mohd Hafarizam when contacted yesterday.
He said the cash, exceeding RM100mil, could only be recovered after police concluded its investigation and moved to the next stage.
If there was prosecution, Umno would need to wait for a verdict before proceeding with the party’s recovery of the funds, he said.
“If there is prosecution then we have to wait until the case is over, whether there is a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
“So it would take some time,” he added.
Umno is seeking to recover party funds it said were seized by police while in the process of being transferred to the party’s acting leadership following the resignation of Najib.