Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has reiterated that the thousands of pieces of jewellery and hundreds of handbags seized by the police were mostly "gifts accumulated over decades"
In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini yesterday, 27 June, the former prime minister said he was unaware of the extent of his wife's collection of jewellery and other items.
He also claimed that a significant amount of the jewellery seized do not legally belong to his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and that some of them belonged to their daughter, Nooryana Najwa, her husband, and mother-in-law.
The former premier also told the online news portal that he was not provided with full details of items seized in a series of raids linked to him, which are part of the investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case.
Previously, in an interview with Reuters on 20 June, Najib said that most of the items seized from the raids were gifts given to his wife and his daughter.
Najib reportedly said that he did not see anything wrong in receiving gifts
He told Malaysiakini that there were instances when world leaders accept gifts or donations from others. He cited the example of former US president Barack Obama's wife Michelle receiving millions from the late Saudi ruler King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who admitted to receiving 40 horses from his friends and foreign leaders.
"... over the years as head of the government, we have been gifted with a lot of items by foreign leaders as well as personal friends, and I do know that under the law it is not illegal to receive gifts," Najib was quoted as saying.
Malaysiakini also reported Najib as saying that the valuation of the items, particularly jewellery, by the authorities was "subjective and unrealistic"
Najib, who claimed that the value of items seized was not as high as authorities stated, said, "It depends on the source of the stones, it depends when they were gifted or when they were purchased. Valuation can tend to differ."
"So let us not get too excited about it. Let us look at the items, every single item, and we hope to have a chance to examine these items," he was quoted as saying.
The Pekan MP said that items, especially jewellery, depend on what valuation and when the valuation was made since the value of stones have increased significantly over the years as compared to when they were first acquired or gifted.
Najib's remarks came after Bukit Aman Commercial CID Director Amar Singh had revealed yesterday that cash and items seized from several premises linked to Najib had amounted to between RM900 million and RM1.1 billion market retail value.
Najib also explained why RM116.7 million in cash in various currencies, which he claimed was for election expenses, was recovered in the raids
According to Najib, he had to vacate the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Seri Perdana official residence in haste following the election result, which was why money was kept at the Pavilion Residences.
He also claimed that some of the cash recovered by the authorities belonged to him.
"There were some of my own because I have been travelling for over 30 years. but there were also contributions in foreign currency, some people rather contribute in foreign currency," he told Malaysiakini.
Prior to this, Najib had earlier claimed that cash seized from one of the residences linked to him were donations meant for Barisan Nasional's election campaign.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun has since responded to Najib's statement about the police's valuation of the seized items today, 28 June
Speaking to reporters in a press conference during the closing of Ops Selamat for 2018 in conjunction of Hari Raya, Mohamad Fuzi explained that the RM1.1 billion valuation disclosed by the police was made by experts.
"We hired experts to value the seized items. We did not value it the conventional way.
"So we are certain with the expertise we called in and we stand by it," he was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.
Bernama also reported Mohamad Fuzi as saying that Najib could be allowed to see the seized items if there was a need for him to do so.