Thursday , January 24 2019

Malaysia considers probing Najib for abuse of power


Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad’s government is considering investigating former leader Najib Razak for abuse of power, as it intensifies efforts to seek evidence of wrongdoing at scandal-plagued state fund 1MDB just days after taking office.
Najib has been summoned to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s office to aid in a 1MDB-related probe, Bernama news agency cited an unidentified MACC official as saying. The report said he’s been asked to give a statement in relation to SRC International, a subsidiary of 1MDB that he accepted an unspecified amount of funds from and of which he was cleared of wrongdoing by the attorney general in January 2016.
The MACC laid out in recent days a comprehensive list detailing the potential scope of investigations into 1MDB, according to people who have seen
the document. Examples of potential abuse of power by Najib that the agency identified include witness suppression and the blocking of a central bank
criminal case.
Najib had indicated at the outset that he was “prepared and willing to extend his fullest cooperation to the relevant authorities,” his lawyer Harpal Singh Grewal said in a statement in response to a raid on his client’s home.
A spokesman for Najib referred Bloomberg News to this statement when asked for comment on possible investigations into Najib. A spokesperson for the anti-graft agency couldn’t immediately comment on the document.
The move to lay out the scope of a renewed probe underscores how fast Mahathir’s government is moving to revive an investigation into 1MDB, which was set up in 2009 under Najib’s watch to support local infrastructure projects. Since the 92-year-old defeated Najib’s government in a shock election victory last week, he has barred his former protege from leaving the country; and police have searched Najib’s home and seized documents from his former office this week.
Mahathir said he will seek to recover funds diverted from 1MDB by reaching out to authorities in Switzerland, the US, Singapore and other jurisdictions. A parliamentary committee in 2016 identified at least $4.2 billion in irregular transactions by the fund.
He set up a separate committee to look into matters relating to the fund, whose full name is 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The same day, Mahathir said he was appointing Mohd Shukri Abdull to helm the anti-corruption commission, after the former chief, Dzulkifli Ahmad, resigned. “Until and unless the issue of 1MDB is resolved, there will be questions that undermine public confidence in the government and its institutions,” according to a statement.

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