KUALA LUMPUR: The time for posturing by Prime Minister Najib Razak may now well have passed after a sensational legal suit was filed on Umno’s behalf against him in the Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning in respect of the controversial RM2.6 billion donation.
The lawsuit accuses the party president of having committed a fraud on its members by his receipt of the gargantuan sum in March 2013 and his subsequent use of it without the party’s knowledge.
Alleging that he had breached the Umno constitution, the provisions of the Societies Act, 1966 and his common law duties as trustee, the suit seeks as its primary relief the repayment by Najib of US$650 million which he is alleged to have spirited out to a Singapore bank account not owned by Umno.
Najib is also being asked to account for all other monies received by him in the form of donations, for the receipt and use of all funds held in the AmBank Private Banking Account into which the RM2.6 billion was initially received, damages, interest and costs.
Taken out by a party member in the name of Umno, the suit alleges that because “wrongdoer” Najib is in control of Umno, the political party was itself not in a position to commence the action against him.
“The Supreme Council of Umno is unable and/or unwilling to act against Najib Razak as a result of the power and influence Najib Razak wields over [it], the State Liaison Body, the Divisions and the Branches to the detriment of Umno members,” the statement of claim sighted by FMT reads.
Fearing that Najib would wield the same power and influence to remove any member of Umno “for the sole purpose of avoiding liability” under the legal suit, the court is also being moved for an ad interim injunction to restrain Umno, its Supreme Council, state liaison body, divisions and branches from removing the nominal plaintiff as a party member pending the determination of the suit.
The factual scenario cited in the statement of claim itself is by now already well known to the public, having been played out in the glare of the media spotlight almost continuously since it was first exposed in dramatic fashion by the Wall Street Journal on July 2.
It alleges that between March 21 and 25, 2013, Najib had received in his personal banking account the equivalent of RM2.6 billion, which had been transferred from Falcon Private Bank in Singapore to a private banking account registered in his own name at AmBank Private Banking in Malaysia.
The statement of claim then says that the sum of US$681 million was a donation for the use and benefit of Umno, cites Najib as admitting to have received the staggering sum, publicly stating that he was not the personal beneficiary of the funds and publicly claiming that it was a donation from an unnamed Middle-Eastern benefactor.
The statement of claim also alleges that various members of the Umno Supreme Council had confirmed that Najib was a trustee of Umno, that the funds were for political use, and that they themselves had received large sums of money from Najib’s said account purportedly to finance their political operations.
“Consequently, the plaintiff states that Najib Razak is and/or was holding the RM2.6 billion on trust for the benefit and use of Umno,” the statement of claim reads further. “Further and/or in the alternative, the plaintiff states that Najib Razak is and/or was holding the RM2.6 billion on constructive trust for the use and benefit of Umno.”
The statement of claim goes further to allege that Najib had breached the Umno constitution, the Societies Act, 1966 and his duties as trustee by:
- refusing to account to Umno for the use of the RM2.6 billion
- refusing to allow Umno to account for it in its financial years in 2013 and 2014
- transferring out US$650 million to a bank account in Singapore which does not belong to Umno
- failing to ensure that the sum was accounted for in Umno’s financial statements
- failing to inform or declare to the Supreme Council of the party that he had received the money
- using a substantial part of the funds in violation of Umno’s constitution
- utilising or retaining part of it for his personal benefit
- receiving the funds without having been appointed trustee by the Supreme Council for such purpose.
The suit was filed by the law firm of Messrs Haniff Khatri.