Left to be seen if declassified audit reports can prove Najib is a criminal

TTF: It should be noted, that the Najib administration never once denied there being irregularities on the part of 1MDB’s board. The administration did, however, deny wrongdoing on the part of the former premier amid allegations that he siphoned billions from the wealth fund. It is therefore left to be seen if the declassified audit reports (see news item below) can prove that Najib committed a crime. So far, there has yet to be clear indicators by the Government of Malaysia (GoM) that a crime of any sort was committed by the former Prime Minister.

KUALA LUMPUR: Senior officials at scandal-plagued state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) withheld information from its board and took some decisions without the board’s approval, according to a Malaysian government audit of the fund that was declassified on Tuesday.

Malaysia, under former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, had classified the audit report in 2016 under the Officials Secrets Act when the fund’s financial troubles were being investigated.

Reports had emerged by that time that about US$700 million from 1MDB had gone to Najib’s personal bank accounts. Najib denied any wrongdoing and the attorney general cleared him following local investigations.

After Najib lost last week’s election, new Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he would reopen investigations into 1MDB and declassify the audit report. He barred Najib and his wife from leaving the country, and has replaced the attorney general who cleared Najib.

“In several instances, the 1MDB management had presented incomplete or inaccurate information to the 1MDB board before an important decision was made and had taken action without the approval of the 1MDB board,” according to the audit report’s executive summary seen by Reuters.

Auditor-General Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad verified the authenticity of the report seen by Reuters.

1MDB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Between 2009 and 2015, several decisions involving high-value investments were made through 1MDB board resolutions without detailed discussion or evaluation, the report said.

Several high-risk investments were made in a very short time, and the 1MDB management went against the board’s and the shareholders’ wishes in some instances, it said.

“There were also instances where the 1MDB management gave inaccurate or different information to interested parties,” the report said.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has filed civil lawsuits alleging that over US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials and their associates.

The lawsuits seek to seize about US$1.7 billion in assets, including a luxury yacht and paintings, that were bought with 1MDB funds.

Source: NST Online

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