KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia central bank governor Muhammad Ibrahim on Friday (Aug 12) insisted that Bank Negara’s investigation on irregularities of scandal-plagued state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MBD) is over and has no reason to reopen the probe despite the civil suits filed by the US justice department.
Last month the DOJ sought to seize over US$1 billion worth of assets said to be bought with money misappropriated from 1MDB.
US investigators including the FBI believed that at least US$3.5 billion were stolen from the people of Malaysia through a series of opaque transactions through fraudulent shell companies between 2009 and 2014.
“We have completed all our investigations on 1MDB,” said Muhammad. “We have imposed a penalty and have taken all necessary action entrusted under the law. We have closed the investigation”
Muhammad also dismissed the police report lodged against former central bank governor Zeti Aktar Aziz earlier this month by the deputy youth chief of the ruling party UMNO for plotting to unseat Prime Minister Najib Razak by handing over classified documents to the FBI and possibly forging them.
Others accused along with Dr Zeti were former anti-corruption commission chief Abu Kassim and ex-attorney general Abdul Gani Patail.
“Anyone can make a police report, it’s a free country, this is not the first time people make a report against Bank Negara,” said Muhammad. “When it comes to international corroboration we have and will always abide strictly by protocol and regulations.”
He said Bank Negara has since implemented measures to beef up corporate governance in banking and financial service sectors, including mandating that majority of the board consist of independent members while limiting the tenure of non-independent members to nine years.
‘DESTROYED ALL CREDIBILITY’
Opposition Member of Parliament Tony Pua, in a statement early on Saturday, slammed Muhammad’s comments, saying that “this single announcement has in one swift blow, destroyed all the credibility BNM (Bank Negara) has painstakingly accumulated over the past two decades.”
“The question for the Bank Negara Governor is very simple – has Dato’ Seri Najib Razak been investigated for the multi-billion ringgit money-laundering scam which has been highlighted by the US DOJ?” the statement read.
“As far as we are aware, based on public announcements by BNM, 1MDB has only been investigated for improper disclosure to the central bank for its fund transfers overseas. The elements of a money laundering conspiracy involving top 1MDB officials and the Prime Minister has never been carried out.”