KUALA LUMPUR: Federal police are to continue searching the family residences and the offices of former prime minister Najib Razak in raids which began yesterday, while Najib’s lawyer has said that police action at his private home constituted harassment.
The raids are being carried out under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, according to Najib’s lawyer Harpal Singh Grewal, who said earlier today that police had packed “insignificant” personal items into five boxes and removed them in a Black Maria which left Najib’s home early today.
Police said that the search was not over. “It is still being conducted at the five areas simultaneously,” said Amar Singh, director of the Commercial CID at federal police headquarters.
The police raids come in the wake of Barisan Nasional’s defeat at the general election last week and calls by the new prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for renewed investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), which has been mired in a five-year controversy involving allegations of corruption and money-laundering of sums amounting to billions of ringgit.
Amar Singh said searches were continuing at two apartments owned by Najib’s family, his office at the Prime Minister’s Department, and at the prime minister’s official residence which Najib had used during two terms as prime minister from 2009.
He said he was not able to reveal the contents of the boxes in the police Black Maria that left Najib’s home at Langgak Duta. A press conference would be held once all the searches were done.
Earlier this evening, Harpal Singh said the police had been drilling all day trying to open a 20-year-old safe at Najib’s home. He said a police search of the house from 10pm last night to 5am this morning had uncovered nothing incriminating.
He said there was no indication that Najib would be arrested, adding that the family was cooperative and police had acted professionally until 5am.
Mahathir has said there is sufficient evidence to investigate the 1MDB scandal. Yesterday, a summary of the Auditor-General’s 2016 investigation of 1MDB was made public, giving details of mismanagement and financial transactions carried out without instructions from the board of directors.