Najib Razak and his wife, who has unquenchable taste for designer bags, jewellery
Malaysian police said on Friday that cash worth 114 million ringgit (28.6 million dollars) and over 400 luxury handbags were seized from several apartments as part of an anti-graft probe into a state fund founded by former premier Najib Razak.
Najib’s home, and the apartments of a son, and a daughter were among a dozen properties searched since May 18, Amar Singh, the head of commercial crime division, told a news conference.
Since his defeat in an election on May 9, Najib has been barred from leaving the country by the new government, which has reopened an investigation into billions of dollars missing from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
At one empty apartment, officers found 35 bags stuffed with cash valued at 114 million ringgit. The banknotes were in 26 currencies, though the largest amounts were in ringgit and Singapore dollars.
“We have sat together with bank officials to tally and estimate the total cash seized,” Singh said.
Singh said the empty apartment in Pavillion Residences, in the Bukit Bintang neighborhood of Kuala Lumpur, did not belong to any of Najib’s family members.
He declined to name the owner. Police also found 284 boxes of handbags in the apartment, and a further 150 handbags were seized from the home of Najib’s daughter, Nooryana Najwa, along with various shoes, including baby shoes.
Singh said most of the bags appeared to be a Hermes brand.
“We have had discussions with Hermes, and we will take pictures and send them to Paris to verify their authenticity and their value,” Singh said.
Nooryana, better known as Gina, married a nephew of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s three years ago. Singh did not say what was found at the home of Najib’s son Ashman.
Experts were being brought in to value the jewelry, watches and other luxury items seized during the raid. Singh said half a million ringgit, excluding foreign currency, was found at Najib’s home.
Najib concluded giving a statement to anti-graft agents on Thursday that was related to transactions of 10.6 million dollars into his bank account that investigators had traced to a former unit of 1MDB.
Najib, who led the country for almost a decade, has consistently denied any wrongdoing, having explained three years ago that 680 million dollars transferred into his account had been a donation from an unnamed Saudi royal.
The new government pledged on Friday to honor all payments on debt arising from 1MDB. It has estimated that government guarantees covered 38 billion ringgit (9.54 billion dolars) of 1MDB’s debt at the end of 2017.
“We will honour those even though we are not happy with 1MDB, but we have to honor our international obligations,” Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said. “I think this will reassure the markets that this government knows what it is doing”.
Late on Thursday, Najib’s defeated United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) asked police to return to the party money seized during the raids, describing it as campaign contributions and party funding left over after the election.
UMNO said the funds were in the process of being transferred to the party’s new leadership when they were seized.
“As such, UMNO seeks to recover these funds and requests the police to release these funds and return them to the party after completion of all due process and investigations by the relevant authorities,” the party said.
Out of power for the first time since independence six decades ago, UMNO said it needed the money to recover from its defeat.
“UMNO is in the process of rebuilding and the return of our party funds will help in this process,” the statement said.
Najib quit as president of UMNO a day after the election, and was replaced by his deputy Ahmad Hamidi.
The new government is led by 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, a former prime minister and UMNO leader who joined the opposition to defeat his erstwhile protege after becoming convinced of his corruption.
UMNO has long been known for its ‘money politics’, as the party has built its support among ethnic Malays through a system of patronage.
The UMNO statement noted that Mahathir had handed back 1.2 billion ringgit ($301 million) to the party and its 3 million members when he stepped down as party president in 2003.
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Illegal Abortions Responsible For Mysterious Deaths In Bauchi: State Govt
Bauchi State Government has revealed that the mysterious deaths recorded in the State has been as a result of illegal abortions.
An investigation carried out by the Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has revealed that illegal abortion by unqualified medical practitioners is the cause of mysterious deaths in Azare and other local government areas in the northern part of the state.
According to reports, no fewer than 200 women have died in Bauchi as a result of this and there are projections that the number could be more at the end of the investigation.
The Executive Chairman of the agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, disclosed this Friday, May 29, at an interactive session organized by the Bauchi State Public Health Media Network.
Mohammed said the deaths resulted from unwanted and unplanned pregnancies by both married and unmarried women of childbearing ages who, after becoming pregnant, visited quack health workers to terminate the pregnancies.
He said the lack of understanding of the importance of child spacing as well as ignorance of what to do with such pregnancies had become a major problem to family health in the state.
He emphasized the need for adequate sex education for the girl-child by parents, particularly mothers, to reduce unwanted pregnancies, thereby reducing deaths from complications.
Ondo Govt Arraigns Suspected Killers Of Funke Olakunrin
The Ondo State Government has arraigned four men suspected to have killed Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of the National Leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.
Recall that it was earlier reported that the Nigeria Police Force handed over the suspects to the State Government.
They are Lawal Mazaje from the Felele area of Kogi State, Adamu Adamu from Jada area of Adamawa State, Mohammed Usman from Illela area of Sokoto State, and Auwal Abubakar from Shinkafi area of Zamfara State.
The suspects were arraigned on Friday by the government at a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Akure.
Lagos Govt To Shutdown Markets Violating Social Distancing Order
The Lagos State Government has threatened to shut down markets in the State violating the social distancing order.
The Corps Marshal, Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC), Gbemisola Akinpelu, gave the warning on Monday at the Command Headquarters in the Oshodi area of the state.
In a statement issued by the Head, Public Affairs Unit of LAGESC, Adebayo Kehinde noted that the order is coming from the State Ministry of Environment.
He reiterated the commitment of the agency to monitor markets across the state to ensure that the directive of the government is being adhered to strictly.
He urged the traders to maintain environmental cleanliness around the markets and stop trading on road setbacks and drainage.
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