RM2.6 billion scandal: AG must act without delay

Media conference statement by DAP National Political Education Director and MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong at DAP Headquarters, Kuala Lumpur, on Wednesday 11th November 2015

In the first installment of a three-part interview with The Malaysian Insider, Attorney-General ‎Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali stated that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has until the end of this year to record Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s statement on the RM2.6 billion in his personal account.

Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali told The Malaysian Insider that he had directed the anti-graft agency to complete the investigations into former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd and the RM2.6 billion donation before the year end as he took the public concern in the matter seriously.

First, the 1MDB, SRC International and RM2.6 billion scandals have defined Malaysian politics and affected Malaysian economy for at least many months. It should be the number one issue on the To-Do List of the AG.

In any criminal investigation, the first order of business is to question parties involved. To solve a murder, the police would zero in on a key witness or suspect to assist investigations, similarly in a case involving criminal breach of trust, MACC would act on information or tip offs and call related persons in for questioning.

However in the case of 1MDB’s mysterious RM2.6 billion that surfaced in the Prime Minister’s personal bank account, no interrogation had been made after months of scathing exposes that have reached global prominence. Why wait until December to summon Najib, when daily the ringgit value is plunging and Malaysia’s international credibility is suffering?

Other nations including Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States (via its Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the United Kingdom (via its Serious Fraud Office) have already begun probes into accounts and wrongdoing related to the 1MDB debacle.

However, the Malaysian investigation seems to be taking its own sweet time with no sense of urgency to summon one of the key figures in the scandal to explain. If the AG truly wants to take public concern into consideration, then the investigation into Najib’s involvement must take priority without any further delay.

The MACC investigations should have been done in July before former AG Abdul Gani Patail was sacked as he was instrumental in directing the probe by the Special Task Force and had access to damning evidence that was examined by him.

Prior to Patail’s sacking, whistleblower website Sarawak Report had published a draft charge sheet that purportedly showed that the AG was preparing to charge Prime Minister Najib Razak under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act in relation to the 1MDB scandal.

Gani was quickly dismissed on “health grounds” two months before he was due to retire, and the alleged charge sheet was swiftly denied by the AG’s chambers. With this bare denial and the ascension of the new AG Apandi Ali, faded talk of quizzing Najib, must less charging him.

If Apandi is privy to the same information that Gani had, and if Gani had supposedly found enough evidence to charge Najib, why shouldn’t Apandi immediately summon Najib for questioning, at the very least?

The longer the delay, the more time it would buy the parties involved to cover their tracks.

Second, what has become of the Special Task Force (STF) set up on July 7 comprising the AG’s Chambers, the Police, Bank Negera and MACC to investigate the multiple scandals involving Prime Minister Najib Razak?

On August 5, barely a month after the STF was first announced, the MACC issued a statement saying the the Special Task Force had been disbanded on the advice of the new AG Apandi.

According to the MACC, the AG had said that there was no need for a special task force and directed the four main agencies to work independently. In a strange twist, the same week, six members of the task force from MACC were hauled up for questioning by Bukit Aman. All went quiet on the STF front and there were no more meetings held.

However after the Conference of Rulers called for the 1MDB investigation to be expedited and for wrongdoers to be punished, AG Apandi suddenly took an about turn about the position of the STF.

On October 8, the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) stated that the Special Task Force “had never been dissolved or disbanded.” The STF dissolution was also denied on October 22 by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri, in a written reply to Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian.

If the STF was never disbanded, why did Apandi and AGC keep silent when MACC went public about its so-called dissolution in August?

Is the Special Task Force still functioning now? If yes, what are its latest findings?

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