PUTRAJAYA: Anwar Ibrahim said former Bank Negara Malaysia adviser Nor Mohamed Yakcop would have been sacked if he had not resigned for causing huge financial losses in forex trading, the royal commission of inquiry heard today.
The former finance minister said he had informed former BNM governor Jaffar Hussein about this when both met sometime in 1994.
Jaffar had also tendered his resignation as he took responsibility for the losses from 1991 to 1993, which according to witnesses who appeared before the tribunal, amounted to RM30.5 billion.
Anwar said Jaffar, during the meeting, said Nor Mohamed had exceeded his mandate in the forex transactions and had not given an accurate report to BNM’s management.
“I told the governor that he will be sacked if he did not resign from his position,” he told the five-men tribunal chaired by Mohd Sidek Hassan.
Anwar said the late governor was “quite emotional” when he handed over his resignation.
Nor Mohamed, who testified before the tribunal yesterday, said he also tendered his resignation in 1994 as he wanted to be accountable for the losses.
Anwar said Jaffar told him that he fully trusted Nor Mohamed and he humbly apologised for what happened.
The witness said he also checked with former finance minister Daim Zainuddin who informed him that he (Daim) had cautioned the central bank on its forex activities.
Anwar, who was finance minister from 1991 to 1998, said he had briefed Dr Mahathir Mohamad about the forex losses in late 1993 but the then prime minister did not give him a clear direction.
Anwar said he then ordered BNM to stop its forex trading immediately.
“I also gave an undertaking in Parliament that such activities would not be repeated,” he said, adding that he had instructed BNM and the finance ministry to give full cooperation to the Public Accounts Committee.
At the tail-end of his testimony, Anwar, who appeared to take a swipe at Sidek, said the RCI should act with integrity and not fit in with the design of others.
The RCI must act professionally instead of acting against Mahathir, he said.
Anwar, after a heated debate, said Sidek should know that the role of a finance minister is to report the statements presented to him.
But if Sidek wanted to question accounting roles instead, then he should do the same with Felda and state-owned 1MDB, he added.
“We only take the audited reports. Don’t make this case an exception just to target someone.”