KUALA LUMPUR, August 16 — Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) thwarted the “grand plan” of state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) by stopping the company’s 2014 offer to borrow RM4.9 billion from abroad for reasons such as 1MDBs. Increasing debts were heard in the Supreme Court today.
Former BNM governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz said this while testifying as the 46th prosecution witness in the case of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak regarding RM2.28 billion 1MDB funding.
Zeti said BNM’s rejection of 1MDB’s offer to increase its debt in 2014 occurred before BNM discovered in 2015 that 1MDB had actually sent US$700 million in 2009 to the wrong company, now known as Low Taek Jho’s Good Star Limited. The US$700 million was part of the US$1 billion that 1MDB sent for a so-called investment in 2009, and Zeti was later found to be non-existent.
“In 2014, 1MDB actually tried to pay or assume foreign debt again and had to apply to the central bank for this, the date was June 3, 2014. This was long before we received information from foreign authorities and Bank Negara rejected this application from 1MDB and therefore had to apply to the central bank for this big deal they developed. “He stopped the plan,” he said.
Zeti cited 1MDB’s June 3, 2014 application to borrow the equivalent of RM4.9 billion from offshore sources, and listed three reasons why BNM rejected this application, including 1MDB’s growing debt.
Other reasons were the failure of 1MDB to respond to BNM about its current borrowing and use, and information regarding 1MDB’s alleged investment in 2009.
Following 1MDB’s application dated June 3, 2014, BNM requested further information and subsequently refused on July 11, 2014.
1MDB then wrote an appeal to BNM to reconsider its approval of the offer to borrow RM4.9 billion from overseas sources, but BNM rejected this appeal on August 28, 2014.
Asked by Najib’s chief defense attorney, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, whether 1MDB appealed to Najib, the then finance minister, Zeti said he was unsure and said that BNM would not know if there was such an appeal if the Ministry of Finance did not inform BNM.
Agreeing that Najib is both prime minister and head of the Ministry of Finance, Zeti confirmed that Najib had made no attempt to contact BNM and asked 1MDB to reconsider its application to borrow RM4.9 billion from overseas sources.
At another point, Zeti cited two reasons for BNM’s rejection of 1MDB’s RM4.9 billion loan offer, noting that 1MDB already “has a high level of debt that poses a high risk to the country” and “already has huge debts”. held in offshore sources”.
“And we didn’t approve on that basis. So this is an application for borrowing from offshore sources, and one of the components of that borrowing was collecting sukuk from offshore sources. And when we refused, they told us okay. It will go to the Securities Commission to issue these bonds, and that’s Bank Negara’s. “In other words, they actually told us that they were going to get this money from bond issuance,” he said.
However, Zeti said that he did not know what happened with 1MDB, instead he would try to raise funds through bonds and said he did not follow up on the matter.
Earlier today, Zeti said that BNM only found out in 2015 that 1MDB sent US$700 million to Good Star in 2009 because 1MDB provided false information in 2009 and despite continued efforts to obtain such updates. He said he did not provide the necessary information to BNM.
Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah is expected tomorrow to hear Najib’s appeal for dismissal and not continue to hear the 1MDB case.
Najib’s application filed on August 14 seeks to dismiss Sequerah to be acquitted of the 1MDB case, or alternatively, for the case to be re-trial or to continue before a different Supreme Court judge.
The hearing took all day today, as Sequerah resisted Shafee’s efforts to request an earlier end of the proceedings this morning, and Shafee stated that he was the lead attorney who had to oversee another case this afternoon and needed time. Explain to Najib to get Najib to sign an affidavit for the withdrawal application.
This morning, after the judge said Shafee would have a team that could help him handle the other case, he steadfastly wanted the trial to continue: “I’m not trying to be difficult, you have a job to do, I have a job to do, what we’re going to do in this situation, we both have responsibilities.” I have responsibilities to the taxpayer and the public, I cannot postpone it, we will continue.”
The judge allowed the 1MDB trial to end earlier today to allow Shafee to explain to Najib and complete and sign the required statement for Najib’s refusal application, before Shafee is brought back to Kajang Prison by prison officials.
The trial began on August 28, 2019.
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