KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Charity group Aman Palestin has reportedly admitted using its funds to buy gold bars that were recently seized by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), saying the company is allowed to do so.
Citing its company constitution, its lawyer Mohd Rafique Rashid Ali said its board of directors are allowed to invest in several ways and denied that they were misappropriation of funds.
“There are 16 powers given to members of the board of directors of Aman Palestine and the power to invest is in various mechanisms.
“It is not wrong, and after all the gold is valuable and easy to convert into cash before sending to those in need,” he was quoted saying by New Straits Times.
The lawyer also reportedly said that only 11 of the 41 accounts frozen by MACC belong to Aman Palestin and were used for donation purposes, while the rest belong to the charity’s strategic partners, board of directors and staff members.
Rafique also asserted that the charity’s most recent audit was conducted in 2021 available to the public at the Companies Commission of Malaysia website, and it had submitted a notice to the MACC Commissioner and the director of its anti-money laundering division.
The Star also reported him demanding that MACC unfreeze the accounts in three days or face legal action.
“The notice submitted by Aman Palestine has been sent [on Monday] for the freezing of the accounts to be cancelled or retracted.
“If [MACC] fails to do so, legal action will be taken,” he reportedly said.
MACC previously said that its investigation is ongoing and is being held under the MACC Act 2009, the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amla), and the Penal Code.
Last week, the MACC said it had frozen 41 bank accounts linked to Aman Palestin and several other companies following the investigation into the alleged misappropriation of RM70 million by the charity organisation.
Among the items seized during the raid were four Grade 999.9 gold bullion weighing 1kg each.
Formed in 2004, the Bangi-based Aman Palestin’s website said it was formed to collect donations and channel them to those affected by conflicts in Palestin, Syria and Lebanon.
Its executive director is Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman, formerly the president of the controversial Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma). Another director, Zaini Awang, is also an Isma leader while its adviser Zainur Rashid is currently Isma’s vice-president.