‘I did not complain as it would be like suspecting Najib’

KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh said he did not complain about irregularities in 1MDB to Datuk Seri Najib Razak as it would be like he was suspecting the former prime minister of being involved.

The 68-year-old witness said this in the High Court while being re-examined by lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram in the ex-premier’s trial over the misappropriation of RM2.3bil in funds from 1MDB.

Sri Ram asked why at that point of time he did not make a complaint to the Finance Ministry and Najib about his frustrations over what had happened in 1MDB.

Mohd Bakke replied that what discouraged him from doing so was that it would be like making a complaint against the then prime minister, according to Bernama.

“Complaining on the loss of sheep to the wolf!” quipped Sri Ram.

Mohd Bakke: “That was the thing, because from the early part of my involvement as a board member, I was already not comfortable.

“I had this feeling of discomfort, especially when I found out that the management had split the remittance. So that was the trigger. I felt very uncomfortable about the whole thing.

“And that prompted me to resign. I wanted to resign on the spot, go back to the PM and tell him what had happened and that I had my suspicion on him. I was not comfortable and that was difficult.”

He further said that Najib had never asked him why he resigned from the company although he had on many occasions met Najib after he left the company.

Sri Ram: “After you resigned, were you satisfied that he (Najib) was aware that you had resigned?”

Mohd Bakke: “Najib never asked me why I resigned. It was business as usual.”

Mohd Bakke was the 1MDB chairman from September 2009 to Oct 19, 2009 when he resigned to protest irregularities in 1MDB’s US$1bil deal.

Earlier, when queried by Najib’s counsel Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, the witness said he was not aware if the family of former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz had gotten proceeds from the transactions of the sovereign wealth fund.

He said he became aware of the matter recently through media reports.

Wan Aizuddin: “Tan Sri, do you know that as of January 2022, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had been investigating Zeti, her husband and Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop under the Anti-Money Laundering Act?”

At this juncture, deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustafa P. Kunyalam stood up and objected to the lawyer’s question as it had nothing to do with the witness.

However, Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah allowed the question as it was a general question.

Najib, 68, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3bil from 1MDB and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial continues on June 7.

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