Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd is one of Malaysian top police chiefs. He’s the director of CID (Criminal Investigation Department) in charge of 11 branches – from internal affairs to secret societies to Interpol. Naturally, CID is one of the most powerful departments in the Royal Malaysia Police force, not to mention extremely profitable if the department is turned into a money-printing machine.
There’s a reason why average Joes and Janes fear – instead of respect – the local police officers. Malaysian police force is known as “thugs with badge.” Corruption runs deep within the police force tentacles, so much so it is considered part of its culture. It’s no coincidence that surveys consistently show that the country’s police and politicians are running neck and neck as the most corrupt institution.
Most often than not, corruption or money laundering – even sexual misconduct – would be blacked out, unless exposed by foreign countries. Earlier this month, Australian police have seized AUD$320,000 (US$249,000; £180,000; RM975,000) from an Australian bank account belonging to Malaysia’s Criminal Investigation Department director Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd.
Sydney Morning Herald – Malaysian top cop has 320K seized by Australian Federal Police
While it may look like an innocent case initially, it nevertheless raised international eyebrows at the headline – “Malaysian top cop has $320K seized by Australian Federal Police, doesn’t want it back” – published by Sydney Morning Herald. Apparently, the Australian police suspected the money was proceeds of crime, or as a result of money laundering.
The CID director opened the “Gold Saver” Commonwealth Bank account at Sydney’s Haymarket branch in 2011. Stunningly, the account balance grew by nearly AUD$290,000 in a month. In December 2012, a year after the account was opened, a deposit of AUD$30,000 was received while AUD$8,000 was withdrawn, but after that the account lay dormant until 2016.
The amount of AUD$320,000 was accumulated through 54 transactions, each below the threshold of AUD$10,000 (US$7,800; £5,600; RM30,450), suggesting it was deliberately done to avoid red flags which would otherwise alert Australian law enforcement agencies. In September 2016, the account was flooded with “suspicious cash deposits” after the top cop made his last visit to Australia.
Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd – Director of CID
The Sydney Morning Herald also reported that Wan Ahmad Najmuddin, who was then Johor police chief (before his promotion as CID chief in April 2017), had used unknown depositors to perform the deposits at branches and ATMs around the country, from Biloela in country Queensland to Devonport in northern Tasmania to Lakemba in Sydney’s west and Melbourne’s CBD.
Interestingly, records showed that the Malaysian CID chief had visited Australia on a tourist visa nine times since 2011, staying for less than a week and sometimes carrying lots of cash. Mr. Wan Ahmad claimed that the banking account was used to pay for his son’s master’s degree in Australia, raising question why couldn’t his son open his own bank account instead.
The drama reached its climax when Mr. Wan Ahmad expressed his desire not to claim back his hard-earned money currently being frozen by the Australian authorities. He, of course, has denied wrongdoing, citing legal costs as the reason he did not attempt to reclaim the money, despite the enormous amount of money left in the account. He also claimed that the funds were lawfully obtained from the sale of his house.
Mohamad Fuzi Harun – Inspector-General of Police (IGP)
The country’s Inspector-General of Police, Mohamad Fuzi Harun, is standing by his officer’s silly and unbelievable explanation though. As strange as it may sound, Mr. Fuzi claimed Bukit Aman (headquarter of Royal Malaysia Police) had been aware of the account in 2016 and the Integrity and Standard Compliance Department (JIPS) had conducted an internal inquiry.
IGP Mohamad Fuzi also said CID chief Wan Ahmad Najmuddin had been able to provide documents to prove the funds originated from the sale of his house in Shah Alam, which was then worth RM700,000. Mr. Wan Ahmad also received support from Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who said the suspected CID chief should “stay free” and not be suspended.
The problem is nobody believes an ounce of the stories. In what is seen as police force protecting each other, the story sounds too silly and insane, if not ridiculous. The excuse that legal costs to reclaim his money would be too excessive was simply too lame. If the money was indeed lawfully obtained, which is from the sale of his house, Mr. Wan Ahmad has nothing to worry.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia – ATM Machines 2
What the CID chief needs to do is to fly over to Australia, as he had done nine times since 2011, and show the relevant documents as proof of his innocence. Heck, he can even sue the Government of Australia for wrongfully seizure of his hard-earned money, if he wishes to make some quick bucks. His AUD$320,000 could easily double, or even triple from lawsuits against the Australian government.
But before he could embarrass the Australian government, Mr. Wan Ahmad has to explain why was his funding so uniquely done in 54 separate deposits, each below the threshold of AUD$10,000, and were transacted from 5 different states within Australia. In the same breath, he has to also explain why he preferred the complex method of funding his kid’s education.
With over 25,000 Malaysians studying in Australia, why did the Australian Federal Police specifically discriminate against Mr. Wan Ahmad’s account for suspicious of money laundering? The IGP Fuzi has admitted the funds of his CID chief were entrusted to a very close friend to make the transfer to the bank account in Australia.
Australia Commonwealth Bank Money Laundering Scandal – CID Director Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd
That so-called trusted friend was revealed to be Seenisirajudeen Mohamad Basith, an Indian national who has since returned to India. How could a Criminal Investigation Department director trust a foreigner – an Indian citizen – to deposit money to his son, but couldn’t trust local banks to transfer money from his account in Malaysia to his son’s account in Australia?
Although it’s strange that Australian police noticed a possible crime but the Malaysian police did not, what’s really bizarre is that the top cop does not even want his money back. Clearly, Mr. Wan Ahmad has something to hide. Only someone who had gotten his money from illegitimate sources would rather let RM1 million cold cash get forfeited without throwing a challenge.
Deputy Prime Minister Zahid defended his boy as simply “naive”. Was it as naive as Prime Minister Najib caught with US$681 million in his personal bank account? So no, the CID chief wasn’t naive at all but is actually very smart. He knew the system and tried to manoeuvre it with 54 deposits, each below the threshold of AUD$10,000 – until he gets caught.
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi – Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affair Minister
In fact, CID chief Wan Ahmad was so smart that he knew precisely which Australian bank to launder his money. Commonwealth Bank, the Australia’s biggest mortgage lender, had a loophole which allowed its ATM machines to be fed with money anonymously if the depositors were not a Commonwealth customer. Recently, a scandal broke where its ATMs were laundered 54,000 times.
That’s why he smartly recruited a stranger, an Indian national, to do the dirty jobs of running around 5 states feeding money to his account. And he’s smart to understand Australia won’t believe his story. It’s an insult to the peoples’ intelligence to suggest that a top police officer was so stupid and careless with his money. Perhaps AUD320,000 was just some loose change to CID chief Wan Ahmad.
The way how CID chief Wan Ahmad, IGP Fuzi and Mr. Zahid (who is also the Minister of Home Affair) were huffing and puffing half-baked stories goes to show how the institution has been so used to bulldozing their way in Malaysia. Facing a foreign country on allegation of money laundering charges, they could only fumble and humiliate themselves – with unbelievable fairy tales.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia – Logo and Australia Flag