Most Muslim nation states are ruled by powerful dictators, monarchs and presidents/prime ministers for life with absolute power and as the saying goes power corrupts, these countries are at the top of the list of nations marred by corruption.
It has been the same story of high level corruption by ruling elites from Sudan to Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh for decades and lately in democratic Malaysia.
Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia from 2008 to 2018 was deposed after losing in the 14th general elections in May 2018. Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the next prime minister on his second stint in office, called for investigations on the 1MDB corruption scandal to be reopened.
Najib was promptly arrested in July 2018 by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), investigating how RM42 million (US$10.6 million) went from SRC International, a company related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) into Najib’s bank account.
Police seized 1,400 necklaces, 567 handbags, 423 watches, 2,200 rings, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras worth $273 million and in the months that followed, Najib was barred from leaving the country.
The court case has lasted two years and finally on Tuesday 28 July 2020, the Malaysian High Court has convicted Najib on all seven counts, three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of power becoming the first Prime Minister of Malaysia to be convicted of corruption.
High Court judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali said when reading the judgment: “I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. I therefore find the accused guilty and convict the accused on all seven charges.”
Besides this trial, Najib is also facing two other 1MDB-linked trials. The corruption case related to an alleged money laundering of RM27 million will be tried at Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan’s court from 5 July next year.
This is a most welcome outcome of conviction of a former corrupt politician in a relatively short space of time in a Muslim country.
There are many more cases of corruption going through courts in a number of Muslim countries waiting for convictions of former political elites who have looted the public money in these impoverished nations.