1MDB scandal: AGC classifies Bank Negara's investigation paper as NFA, says Zeti

27 Jul 2023 06:32pm
Former BNM Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz (right) at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to testify in Datuk Seri Najib Razak's 1MDB trial, today. - Photo by Bernama
Former BNM Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz (right) at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to testify in Datuk Seri Najib Razak's 1MDB trial, today. - Photo by Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR - The High Court here today was told that the investigation paper (IP) submitted by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) with the recommendation to initiate criminal prosecution and to charge 1MDB including the senior officers was classified as no further action (NFA).

Former BNM Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, 76, said despite all the damning evidence gathered and recorded by BNM in the IP on 1MDB, the then Attorney-General (Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali) for reasons unknown had on Sept 11, 2015, decided that the IP submitted by the central bank was to be classified as NFA.

The 46th prosecution witness said the IP was submitted as the 1MDB and its officers were found to have contravened the provision under the Exchange Control Act 1953 (ECA) for furnishing false information to BNM in the 1MDB application for permission to make payments outside Malaysia.

"At BNM’s press conference on the second quarter GDP, which took place on Aug 13, 2015, it was mentioned that BNM had completed its investigations on 1MDB, relating to the areas that were within its purview and legislative powers. Concerning Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s accounts, BNM had provided all the relevant information to the respective law enforcement agencies,” she said.

Zeti further said, BNM wrote back to the AGC on Oct 1, 2015, to reconsider the decision (NFA) and further stressed the omission of material information by 1MDB in its application for the foreign exchange administration (FEA) permission.

"1MDB had not only failed to provide full and complete information in its applications for the FEA permission but had provided false information. The AGC however did not reply to BNM's appeal.

Zeti said this when reading out her witness statement during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib at Najib’s trial involving the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion of 1MDB funds.

Zeti added pursuant to BNM’s legislation, BNM proceeded to revoke the three permissions granted to 1MDB and issued directions to 1MDB to repatriate back to Malaysia all funds that were illegally and falsely remitted abroad.

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"The subsequent inability of 1MDB to bring the monies back and to provide evidence on the status of the funds resulted in a compound being imposed on 1MDB. With an agreement that had to be obtained from the AGC, the compound amounting to RM15 million was imposed and was paid by 1MDB on May 25, 2016,” she said.

She explained that BNM’s investigation into the case was for the purposes of bringing to justice the contravention of the law by 1MDB concerning their overseas remittances over the period between September 2009 and May 2011, and to preserve the integrity of the functioning of the country’s financial system.

Explaining the task force, Zeti said the then AG Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, on June 9, 2015, called for the first task force meeting, involving the then Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed and herself to discuss on MACC and BNM's investigations on 1MDB and on a Mutual Legal Assistance request that had been submitted.

"About the time of the 4th week of June 2015, PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police) was included in the task force meetings. The role of the task force was to coordinate the 1MDB investigations among the three agencies, namely PDRM, MACC and BNM.

"BNM remained as part of the 1MDB task force to provide a supporting role to PDRM and MACC in their respective financial investigations,” she said adding that, on July 27, 2015, the task force led by Abdul Gani was terminated when his services as the AG was ended.

Zeti also said that there were no task force meetings convened by Mohamed Apandi after he took over as the new AG.

"On Aug 5, 2015, Abu Kassim issued a statement saying that he had been advised by the new AG (Mohamed Apandi) that the task force was now no longer needed and each investigating agency could conduct its investigation based on its own respective laws,” she said.

Najib, 70, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes amounting to RM2.3 billion belonging to 1MDB and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial continues before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues. - BERNAMA