PETALING JAYA: The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has cleared 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) of any wrongdoing in relation to an investigation initiated by Bank Negara into its investments overseas.
However, the investigations into 1MDB by the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) are still ongoing and the AGC is continuing with its efforts to assist these two agencies.
The AGC said in a statement that the task force set up to investigate 1MDB had never been dissolved or disbanded and it had never made any statement to that effect.
“In fact, the investigations conducted by the respective agencies were never at any time halted or hindered. The Attorney General has been constantly monitoring and giving instructions to the relevant agencies whenever the investigations were referred to the AGC, including instructions to expedite investigations,” said the AGC.
The AGC issued the statement in response to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Keeper of the Ruler’s Seal, Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, on behalf of the Malay Rulers.
The Malay Rulers had said that the Government should complete the investigation into the 1MDB controversy as soon as possible and take “the appropriate stern action” against all found to be implicated.
In a statement, their royal highnesses stressed that all parties concerned should extend their “real and sincere” cooperation for the investigation to achieve its objectives. It also stated that the findings of the investigation must be reported comprehensively and in a transparent manner so the people would be convinced of the sincerity of the Government.
Apart from Bank Negara, the Auditor General, the MACC and the police are conducting investigations into 1MDB, which has run into cashflow problems with debts of RM42bil after six years of being in operations.
The Cabinet in March this year had appointed the Auditor General to look into the books of 1MDB. Towards this end, the Auditor General has completed an interim report and handed it over to the Public Accounts Committee. The Auditor General’s final report on 1MDB is due by the end of this year.
However, from June onwards, the MACC, Bank Negara and the police have also conducted investigations into the financial affairs of 1MDB after various allegations surfaced on the utilisation of its funds within and outside the country.
Then, on the first week of July, The Wall Street Journal reported that a sum of US$680mil had been deposited into the account of the Prime Minister in March 2013.
Subsequently, a task force was set up comprising the AGC, the central bank, MACC and the police to investigate 1MDB. The Attorney General then was Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.
On July 27, Abdul Gani was replaced by Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali and a week later, the MACC issued a statement stating that the task force was disbanded and that the agencies were to continue with their investigations independently.
The AGC said that the Royal Malaysian Police and the MACC have not completed their investigations, as the statements of some key witnesses have yet to be recorded.
As for Bank Negara, it had completed its investigations and submitted the findings with its recommendations to the AGC in August.
Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akthar Aziz, in disclosing the completion of investigations to the media, had said that the central bank had submitted the papers with the recommendations for appropriate enforcement action under the law.
The AGC stated that the Investigation Paper was submitted on Aug 21, 2015 and decided that there was no offence committed by 1MDB officials.
“Having studied the Investigation Paper, Deputy Solicitor 1 Datuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah decided that there was no offence committed by 1MDB officials and directed that no further action should be taken,” said the AGC. It added that the Investigation Paper was returned to Bank Negara on Sept 11.
However, on Oct 1, Bank Negara sent a letter of request to the AGC to have the decision reviewed.
“Having considered the request and the fact that there was no new evidence made available, the Attorney General decided to maintain the decision made earlier. What has been in the news concerning the Investigation Paper being with the AGC and that discussions were ongoing is inaccurate and not true,” said the AGC.
Bank Negara was investigating 1MDB on an offence under paragraph (4)(b) of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the Exchange Control Act 1953 for recklessly making a statement which is false in a material particular.
Under the Act, the central bank will investigate instances when monies for which approvals are given and not used for the purpose indicated in the submission.
The Full Statement:
WITH reference to the statement issued by the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal on behalf of the Malay Rulers on Oct 7, 2015 and prior adverse or negative statements and comments against the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) on the delay in the completion of the investigation related to 1MDB and a decision thereon, the AGC wish to state the following:
The Task Force on investigations into 1MDB has never been dissolved or disbanded and the AGC has never made any statement to that effect. In fact the investigations conducted by the respective agencies were never at any time halted or hindered. The Attorney General has been constantly monitoring and giving instructions to the relevant agencies whenever the investigations were referred to the AGC, including instructions to expedite investigations.
As of today the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) have not completed their investigations as some key witnesses’ statements have yet to be recorded.
As for Bank Negara, the investigation was conducted into 1MDB for an offence under paragraph (4)(b) of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the Exchange Control Act 1953 namely, knowingly or recklessly making a statement which is false in a material particular. The investigation paper (IP) was submitted to the AGC on Aug 21, 2015.
Having studied the IP, the Deputy Solicitor General 1, Datuk Tun Abd Majid Tun Hamzah, decided that there was no offence committed by the 1MDB officials and directed that no further action should be taken. The IP was returned to Bank Negara on Sept 11, 2015. Hence the decision had been communicated to Bank Negara on the same day.
However, on Oct 1, 2015 Bank Negara transmitted a letter of request to AGC to have the decision reviewed. Having considered the request and the fact that there was no new evidence made available, the Attorney General decided to maintain the decision made earlier. In this respect, the AGC would like to state that what had been in the news between Sept 12, 2015 until today concerning the IP still being with AGC and that discussions were ongoing, is inaccurate and not true.