Wednesday 24 Apr 2024
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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on January 27, 2016.

 

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, the attorney-general (AG) said yesterday, after close to six months of investigations into the RM2.6 billion channelled into Najib’s bank accounts and into finance ministry-owned firm SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali yesterday said there was “insufficient evidence” to implicate Najib.

“Based on facts and evidence, no criminal offences have been committed by the PM in relation to three investigation papers. I hereby order the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) to close the investigation papers,” Mohamed Apandi said.

The three papers are one on the RM2.6 billion donation and two on SRC International, which took a RM4 billion loan from Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan). Mohamed Apandi yesterday also cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in relation to SRC International.

Mohamed Apandi said, based on evidence from witnesses and supporting documents submitted by the MACC, the sum of US$681 million (RM2.08 billion) deposited into personal accounts of the prime minister between March 22, 2013 and April 10, 2013 was a personal donation to Najib from the Saudi royal family, which “was given to him without any consideration”.

“[The] MACC in their investigation personally met and recorded statements from witnesses, including the donor, which confirmed that the donation was given to the PM personally,” he said.

Mohamed Apandi said he was satisfied that there was no evidence to show that the donation was a form of gratification given corruptly.

“Evidence obtained from the investigation does not show that the donation was given as an inducement or reward for doing or forbearing to do anything in relation to his capacity as [the] prime minister,” said Mohamed Apandi, adding that Najib returned US$620 million (RM2.03 million) to the Saudi royal family in August 2013 because the money was not utilised.

“There [is] no evidence to show that [the] PM had any knowledge or was informed that the monies had been transferred into his personal accounts; there [is] no evidence that [the] PM had given any approval for the transfer of monies from the account of SRC International into his personal accounts,” Mohamed Apandi said.

The MACC last year opened investigations, following reports in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Sarawak Report in July alleging that of the RM2.6 billion donation, RM42 million originated from SRC International, a subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

This was according to documents on the money trail provided by Malaysian investigators, WSJ and Sarawak Report said. A larger tranche of US$681 million was also transferred into Najib’s accounts, originating from a British Virgin Islands company and going through Falcon Private Bank in Singapore, they reported.

The MACC had recorded statements from more than 100 witnesses, including Najib and the individual who allegedly gave the RM2.6 billion.

It first submitted investigation papers to the AG on Dec 31, 2015, and had the papers returned with requests for more explanations on Jan 18. It resubmitted the papers last week.

MACC deputy director of operations Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull earlier said the RM2.6 billion probe was still incomplete, as investigators needed to collect documents and statements from individuals from several overseas financial institutions.

Shukri said the commission filed a request with the AG to obtain mutual legal assistance (MLA).

Mohamed Apandi said yesterday since no criminal offence had been committed, there was “no necessity” for Malaysia to make a request for MLA to any foreign states. — The Malaysian Insider

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