KUALA LUMPUR: The Auditor-General’s (A-G) preliminary report should be released to parliamentarians and the public if it has cleared Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the controversial 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) of any wrongdoing, the DAP said yesterday. Its parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang said that Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah was being “dishonest and dishonourable” by claiming the prime minister’s innocence from allegations of corruption, when the report is not released to the public.
“If [Ahmad] Husni is so sure that the A-G’s preliminary report cleared Najib about the US$700 million (RM2.67 billion) deposited into his personal bank accounts, he should ask the Cabinet tomorrow to release the report to the public. At least the 30 million Malaysians can heave a big sigh of relief that the prime minister is free from the allegation, at least one allegation less from the mountain of allegations of misconduct and impropriety dogging Najib’s every step,” Lim said in a statement yesterday.
He questioned how Ahmad Husni had drawn the conclusion that Najib was innocent of the allegations which first surfaced in a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on July 2, when the A-G had concluded his investigations into 1MDB at the end of June.
“It must, however, be news to everyone that the A-G’s terms of reference include probing into WSJ report and allegation that Malaysian government investigators have found the RM2.6 billion deposited into Najib’s personal accounts at AmBank in March 2013, shortly before the 13th general election.
“But this cannot be true, as WSJ report came out on July 2, after the A-G completed the preliminary report on 1MDB at the end of June for submission to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee,” the Gelang Patah Member of Parliament said.
WSJ and United Kingdom-based website Sarawak Report made the revelation that up to RM2.67 billion was allegedly transferred to two bank accounts under Najib’s name with AmBank in 2013.
Najib has since denied taking 1MDB’s funds for “personal use” but has not commented directly on the transfer of the money into his accounts. He instead blamed former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for masterminding the latest allegations. However, opposition politicians have taken Najib to task over his “ambiguous denial”, while WSJ is standing by its story, saying its report was based on solid documentation proof.
A special task force looking into the allegations confirmed that Najib had accounts at AmBank, but the two accounts had been closed before WSJ broke the story.
Lim said yesterday that the A-G Tan Sri Ambrin Buang had previously clarified that the audit department will not be investigating WSJ’s claims as the special task force comprising Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed is better equipped for the task.
“Can [Ahmad] Husni explain how the A-G’s interim report could clear Najib of WSJ allegations when, firstly, the allegations were made after completion of the preliminary report; and secondly, when the A-G never investigated into this subject?” he added. “This is not the only mystery of this 1MDB scandal, with the prime minister presiding over the pile of investigators although he is in the capacity of the ‘accused’ — with everybody under him investigating everybody so much so that nobody really knows who is investigating what!”
Najib, he said, must make a clear stand in clearing his name by opening his books to investigators, but not the special task force.
“Najib must ... clear his name by opening his books to investigators — not to the ridiculous ‘special task force’, which has no credibility whatsoever, but to a Royal Commission of Inquiry,” he said. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 15, 2015.