PUTRAJAYA - A mountain of legal challenges lies ahead of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as authorities bring fresh charges against the former prime minister over the multibillion-ringgit 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
Najib, who is already facing criminal breach of trust, bribery and money-laundering charges, is expected to face dozens more at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today in connection with the deposit of RM2.6 billion of 1MDB funds into his personal account.
This will be the third time that Najib is brought to court, the first being in July when he claimed trial to three charges of criminal breach of trust, and a fourth charge of receiving bribery of RM42 million (S$13.9 million).
Last month, Najib was slapped with three charges of money laundering.
It is learnt that at least four charges under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act will be brought against the former prime minister today.
Sources familiar with the case said Najib is also expected to face “nothing less” than 20 charges under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
Highly placed sources in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said that as at 6pm yesterday, prosecutors were still “counting the charges”.
“If the said amount is RM2.6 billion, you can imagine the number of charges he will face,” a source told The Star.
Sixty-five-year-old Najb arrived at the MACC headquarters at 3pm after graft investigators asked him to be present to record his statement.
He came accompanied by lawyers, officers and his son Nor Ashman Razak.
An hour into the interrogation at 4.13pm, authorities decided to arrest him.
MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki confirmed Najib’s arrest and that he would be held for the night.
This is not the first time Najib has spent the night in MACC’s lockup – investigators also held him for a night when they first brought him to court back in July.
Asked why it was necessary to detain the former prime minister, the source said officers need to record his statement in preparation for the next day’s court proceedings.
“It will take some time, given the nature of the case. That’s why we have to detain him,” said the same source.
Before he is brought to court, Najib will be making a stop at Bukit Aman where the police will take his statement.
His children Nooryana Najwa and Nor Ashman had made poignant postings on their Instagram accounts about their father’s arrest.
Nooryana, who is in Boston, said on Instagram that it pained her that she was on the other side of the world and not with her father during this trying time.
“But you always insisted that giving up Harvard was out of the question, no matter how difficult the circumstances,” she wrote.
She also wrote: “Daddy, before I slept, I sent you this picture of me and Adam (her son) wishing you all the best for your MACC appointment. You didn’t read or reply my message and then Ashman called to say that they have arrested and detained you, again.”
Nooryana ended her posting by writing: “Praying for you and the rule of law in our country, Daddy.”
Nor Ashman wrote on Instagram: “As I sit here outside your place of detainment, I am filled with trepidation. I can’t imagine the kind of tribulation that you are facing in there.
“Praying that you are given a fair treatment and for Malaysia’s rule of law to be upheld. Can’t wait to bring you to your favourite yong tau foo place when you are released, Daddy.”