Mahathir wants criminal probe of 1MDB cover-up

mahathir_1mdb_sing_600PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called for a criminal investigation after accusing the Federal Government of breaking the law by conducting a cover-up about 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s controversial US$1bn deposit in a Singapore bank and called for a police investigation into the matter.

In a blog article today, he pointed out that it was a criminal offence to hide wrongdoing in government transactions, citing Section 218 of the Penal Code.

A jail term of up to three years or fine or both is set out for public servants found guilty of preparing records that they know to be incorrect, and knowing that doing so would cause losses to the public or doing so to escape legal punishment.

The government has previously stated that the questionable US$1bn deposit in the Cayman Islands had been “redeemed” and repatriated. Under further questioning, the government said the funds had been deposited in BSI Bank in Singapore.

However the finance ministry had told Parliament last week that the deposit was of “assets” and not in US currency.

Dr Mahathir said: “There is a criminal element in this case that requires a police investigation and if this money cannot be traced, then legal action must be taken against all the parties involved.”

Dr Mahathir said BSI Bank had been reported to have dismissed as false certain documents produced by 1MDB, which purportedly show the assets of 1MDB subsidiary Brazen Sky Limited.

“Clearly, Najib’s second written parliamentary reply that what was kept was documents is not true either. BSI Bank has reported to the Monetary Authority of Singapore that it’s not keeping 1MDB’s money,” he said.

Dr Mahathir described as untrue claims made by prime minister Najib Razak, government officials, Bank Negara and 1MDB that cash had been brought back from the Cayman Islands tax haven and deposited in Singapore’s BSI Bank, as well as the clarification to the first parliamentary reply that it was documents and not cash that were repatriated.

“Those who made these false reports have broken Section 218,” he said. “This is a very serious matter. As much as RM7 billion borrowed with a government guarantee is now missing and there have been attempts to lie to Parliament and to the nation.”

On Thursday second finance minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the US$1bn amount had been mistakenly described as “cash” instead of just assets, and that the money redeemed from the Cayman Islands account and parked at BSI Bank was in the form of “units” and not US dollars as previously stated by 1MDB chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy.