A review panel in the 1MDB corruption case claims Malaysia’s former attorney general blocked an investigation of an alleged transfer of US$10.6 million into an account of the previous prime minister, Reuters reported Tuesday.
This transfer would add $10.6 million to the already $681 million former Prime Minister Najib Razak is accused of stealing as part of a wider financial scandal in which Malaysian officials and their associates allegedly siphoned $4.5 billion from the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission presented evidence of the alleged transfer to then attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali in late 2015. According to members of a panel that reviewed the commission’s case files, however, Apandi Ali denied their request for further investigation.
He also refused the commission’s repeated requests to seek legal assistance from foreign governments to trace the overall $4.5 billion that went missing from government funds between 2009 and 2015, said review panel member Lim Chee Wee.
Former Prime Minister Najib, who was ousted in a shock election last week, has consistently denied misbehavior, insisting the funds deposited into his personal bank account were a donation from a Saudi royal.
An investigation of Najib while he was still in office cleared him of wrongdoing but was largely seen as a farce, according to The Guardian.
The former director of the anti-corruption office, Abdul Razak, lodged a complaint against Najib on Monday and called on him to declare all his assets, including unexplained property.
“Some are also worried about me for boldly coming out to lodge a report but it’s all right,” Abdul Razak said. “I’m already 69 years old. If I die, I die for the country.”
The newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday that Apandi Ali had been put on administrative leave and that the solicitor-general will take over his duties. He has vowed to investigate the 1MDB scandal and take action against anyone who may have benefitted or assisted in the misappropriation of funds.
The US Department of Justice has filed civil lawsuits over the past two years seeking to seize approximately $1.7 billion worth of 1MDB-linked assets, and is also pursuing a criminal probe.
Najib and his wife were placed on an immigration blacklist over the weekend to ensure they don’t flee the country.