(Aug 9): Former Prime Minister and UMNO president Datuk Seri Najib Razak has claimed that the RM3.5 million in his office in Putrajaya, which was allegedly stolen by security guards on the night of the 14th general election, belonged to Umno.
In a statement sent to Malaysiakini tonight, Najib said he found it hard to believe the money was stolen by those entrusted to guard the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
"I also read in news reports that the authorities acknowledge that this RM3.5 million is Umno election funds that were in my previous office and outside the strong room and safes in the Prime Minister's Office.
"If the authorities know these are Umno funds, then they will also know that the RM114 million that was seized by the police in the raids at the apartments came from the strong room and safes built by Mahathir in the PMO too.
“The cash was seized after being hurriedly transferred from the PMO to the apartments the day after the elections for eventual transfer to the new Umno president," he said.
Najib's statement was issued in response to an exclusive report by Malaysiakini yesterday that 17 security guards at the PMO had taken the RM3.5 million after they found out that Barisan Nasional was about to lose GE14.
The Malaysiakini report had quoted MACC sources as saying that the funds were part of Umno's election war chest. The suspects, aged between 31 and 51, are currently under MACC remand and the commission has seized RM840,700 in cash from them, alongside nine motorcycles worth RM90,000.
Najib, in his statement, called on the authorities to give the remanded suspects a fair trial.
He also demanded the authorities to return the RM3.5 million, as well as the RM114 million, to Umno.
"There are still a lot of bills and commitments incurred during GE14 over the 222 parliament seats and 505 state seats, that need to be paid.
"As I no longer have access to some of my officers then, I am not sure why the RM3.5mil was not stored in the safes with the rest of the other campaign funds but I believe it could have been a late campaign contribution sent over," he said in his statement.