1MDB probe aims to recover money, not charge Najib, says Zeti

Ex-Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz says the 1MDB is not meant to implicate Najib Razak, rather it aims to recover the firm's funds. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, August 14, 2023.

FORMER Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz today told the Kuala Lumpur High Court the aim of the investigation into 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s activities is to find out if the company had committed any wrongdoing and to recover its money.

She denied a special task force’s investigation aimed to charge ex-prime minister (PM) Najib Razak.

The special task force set up on March 6, 2015, comprised former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail, Zeti, former inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar and former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Abu Kassim Mohamed.

“That time, the investigation was on 1MDB and not on the PM (Najib). Later, we found out there was a connection,” said Zeti when questioned by Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah at the ex-PM’s trial involving the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion of 1MDB funds.

The 46th prosecution witness said she had no knowledge if MACC had secretly investigated Najib at the material time as it was never mentioned in task force meetings.

“If 1MDB were to default, then the implication on our country would be generational,” she said.

Shafee: I put it to you the task force was to find a way to topple the sitting prime minister (Najib)?

Zeti: Not correct, as when the task force first met on June 9, 2015, there was no knowledge on the part of anybody from BNM that there was a connection with 1MDB over the prime minister’s account. That is not correct.

Shafee: Were you aware there are drafts of charges levied against Najib, the sitting PM, when an MACC deputy public prosecutor’s premises was raided?

Zeti: Not aware.

Earlier, Zeti told the court the central bank only found out the actual sum of money that went into Najib’s account was RM3.2 billion after a joint raid by BNM and MACC on AmBank in 2015.

Shafee: I’m putting it to you, you notice the fault is in 1MDB board, 1MDB management, BNM and AmBank, and who is in the accused dock? It is the former PM who did nothing in this transaction. I’m putting it to you, is there anything that can show that Najib was involved in this hoodwinking?

Zeti: RM3.2 billion went into his account and he spent at least RM1 billion, and this was partly 1MDB monies … that is why.

Shafee: You also say ‘that time I didn’t know, now I know’ but when the PM (Najib) says ‘that time I didn’t know, now I know’, you say it is wrong. Why is there a double standard?

Zeti: I disagree that it is a double standard.

Zeti also denied the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP), established on May 12, 2018, of which she was a member, was set up to look into 1MDB matters.

The CEP comprised former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, Zeti, former Petronas chief executive officer Mohd Hassan Marican, tycoon Robert Kuok, and economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

“I attended 100 days of meetings (of CEP) and 1MDB was not discussed. Why would they call Robert Kuok and Hassan Marican to discuss 1MDB? We were in the meeting to give advice on the Malaysia economy,” 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 before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow. – Bernama, August 14, 2023.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.