August 16, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – The central bank had recommended three former top officials of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to be charged over the company’s scandal, former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz told the High Court here.
The three individuals were then 1MDB chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, former chief investment officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and former executive director Casey Tang Keng Chee.
Zeti, 76, said that her request for the trio to be charged was made to the then Attorney General (Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali) but no action was taken.
The 46th prosecution witness said this when queried by Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah at the former premier’s trial involving the misappropriation of RM2.3bil of 1MDB funds.
Last month, Zeti testified that the investigation paper (IP) submitted by Bank Negara to the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) with the recommendation to initiate criminal prosecution and to charge 1MDB including the senior officers was classified as no further action (NFA).
Zeti contended that despite all the damning evidence gathered and recorded by Bank Negara in the IP on 1MDB, Mohamed Apandi, for reasons unknown, had on Sept 11, 2015, decided that the IP submitted by the central bank was to be classified as NFA.
Meanwhile, during today’s (Aug 15) proceedings, when asked by Muhammad Shafee if she had ever seen or come across any role played by Najib in the remittance of the US$1bil to the 1MDB-Petrosaudi joint venture (JV) company to the wrong entity, Zeti said Najib’s role was submitting the guarantee to the Cabinet for the approval.
“That (guarantee) was one of the reasons BNM approved the remittance. The 1MDB board of directors had approved it, the Cabinet had approved it. He (Najib) guaranteed the investment. 1MDB is a company 100% owned by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), there’s no reason for BNM not to approve it,” said Zeti.
Muhammad Shafee: You are not suggesting that Najib did it with dishonest intentions?
Zeti: As it turned out, there was no such investment (JV company).
Muhammad Shafee: But who provided all the information about the JV investment to Najib?
Zeti: This is a company 100% owned by the MOF.
Zeti added that as Najib was holding the executive position as the chairman of the 1MDB board of advisors, he should have an awareness of what investments were supposed to take place.
Najib, 70, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes amounting to RM2.3bil belonging to 1MDB and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The trial before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow (Aug 16). – Bernama