Aman Palestin's 41 Bank Accounts Frozen Over Alleged Money Laundering Worth RM70 Million
Aman Palestin, a Malaysian NGO formed in 2004 to channel aid, welfare assistance, and humanitarian support to Palestinians, is being probed by authorities for alleged corruption and money laundering
In a statement today, 23 November, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said it has frozen a total of 41 bank accounts, involving an amount of RM15.87 million, linked to the pro-Palestinian NGO.
According to the statement, the probe is part of the agency's investigation into the misappropriation of some RM70 million in funds, which were raised through public donations, and were allegedly diverted for purposes other than the objectives behind the establishment of the company.
The NGO states that its activities include providing emergency, welfare, and humanitarian aid to Palestinians for as long as they remain in conflict with Israel, reported South China Morning Post.
The anti-graft agency said it has been probing Aman Palestin since 17 October under the MACC Act 2009, Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA), and Act 574 of the Penal Code, which pertains to criminal offences.
MACC has also conducted a search at Aman Palestin's premises, obtained financial and operational management documents for the past five years, and has recorded statements from key witnesses
"Preliminary investigation has identified several issues involving the misappropriation of funds estimated at RM70 million," the statement read.
Prior to the investigation, Perlis Mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin had instructed the Perlis State Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JAIPs) not to permit the collection of funds by Aman Palestin in places of worship and relevant religious premises within the state, reported the New Straits Times.
Mohd Asri had voiced concerns regarding Aman Palestin's fundraising and fund distribution practices, emphasising the need for greater transparency in these matters. Following this, the state religious authority temporarily halted the NGO's fundraising activities in Perlis from 12 October.
Earlier, Aman Palestine said that it would extend its full cooperation to the authorities, while stating they have been channelling aid and donations directly to the Palestinians through its office in Gaza
Aman Palestin's Marketing General Manager Muhd Farhan Muhd Fadhil was quoted by the New Straits Times, saying the NGO is waiting for the outcome of the probe and is hoping for the best.
Meanwhile, its chief executive officer (CEO) Awang Sufian Awang Piut told Bernama that the organisation's office in Gaza serves as a collection centre for relief items before they are distributed to recipients.
"We deliver aid directly to the Palestinians without going through the Palestine Embassy in Malaysia. We also ensure that all relief projects adhere to the stipulated operating procedures. We have our own office in Palestine to enable swift delivery of aid to Gaza, the West Bank, and other areas in need," he said.