KUALA LUMPUR, August 14 — In 2015, the government task force on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was not set up with the aim of dismissing then-Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak or replacing the federal government Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz. reported to the Supreme Court today.
Zeti, former head of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), said so while testifying as the 46th prosecution witness in Najib’s case, where RM2.26 billion of 1MDB funds were allegedly entered into Najib’s personal bank accounts.
Najib’s chief defense attorney focused on the 2015 task force, which consisted of Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the task force’s then chief prosecutor, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, followed by Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, chairman of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and then an investigator. – police general Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Zeti.
To Shafee’s question about the task force, which was disbanded in the same year, Zeti said that BNM played a supporting role, while law enforcement played a major role in looking after 1MDB. ”
Shafee later tried to suggest that the task force intended to impeach Najib, but Zeti said the task force did not even know in 2015 that Najib’s bank account funds were linked to 1MDB.
Shafe: I’m telling you, the real reason for this formation and, you know, was to find a way to remove the incumbent prime minister and change the government.
Zeta: This is not true. When the task force first met, I think it was something like June 9, 2015, nobody including Bank Negara had any knowledge of a connection between 1MDB and the funds in the prime minister’s account. So this is not true.
Shafe: I’m telling you, that’s not true because until then the MACC was secretly investigating the Prime Minister.
Zeta: Not to our knowledge, and certainly not mentioned at any of the task force meetings. The task force would investigate 1MDB due to the consequences of 1MDB’s high level of indebtedness and the concern that if 1MDB defaults, the effects on our country will be not just for the current living people, but also for their descendants. children and grandchildren. It has happened in many other countries as well, and that was my motivation to set up the task force, so I was informed.
Zeti said BNM’s supportive role in the task force is to look at the financial and economic consequences of 1MDB’s debt, and agrees with Shafee that the other three task force members may not know the full impact of their actions.
Shafee suggested that IGP Khalid left the task force on the grounds that he “knew something rotten”, but Zeti said he was unaware of the allegation.
Shafee also claimed that “an incumbent DPP had draft charges filed against the incumbent prime minister in the hands of the MACC’s DPP when they raided,” but Zeti said, “No, I’m not aware of it.”
Shafee claimed that the task force was disbanded in 2015 after the Attorney General alleged that he did not have Cabinet approval when establishing the task force under Article 145 of the Federal Constitution, but Zeti said he was not aware of this claim.
Earlier, Zeti had testified that the government task force in 1MDB was dissolved after Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali replaced Abdul Gani as Attorney General and the Attorney General’s Offices under Apandi decided not to prosecute 1MDB despite BNM’s recommendations. Incorrect information provided by 1MDB for sending money outside of Malaysia.
Later, Zeti pointed out that the task force’s 2015 investigation was aimed at 1MDB, not Najib: “At the time, the investigation was about 1MDB, not the prime minister. And it was not known until much later that there was a connection.”
Later, at one point during the trial, Zeti made it clear that BNM officials were “out of touch”.
“This is the principle at the bank. We do not have close relations with any politician. They work for the benefit of the people of the country,” he said.
Earlier, when Shafee suggested that Zeti might have a conflict of interest regarding 1MDB due to allegations linked to her family’s company’s accounts, Zeti disagreed and said BNM had pressed for 1MDB to be prosecuted in her own time.
“I disagree, that’s not true, because Bank Negara has taken every possible action on 1MDB and that’s in my testimony. And if there was a conflict of interest, where would that be? and their top officials are to blame,” he said, reiterating that his family had not received a penny of 1MDB funding. .
Attorneys representing BNM at the follow-up briefing on the 1MDB case today are G. Rajasingam, Nik Azila Shuhada Nik Abdullah, Justin Tong Wei Hang and Ong Tze Xian.
Lawyer Datuk Joshua Kevin Sathiaseelan held a follow-up briefing for Zeti.
Najib’s 1MDB trial before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah will continue tomorrow, and Shafee is expected to continue cross-examining Zeti.
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