PETALING JAYA: Former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz today said that when Najib Razak was prime minister, he had requested her to issue a statement that he had done nothing wrong with regards to his bank account.
Zeti was responding to Najib’s recent claim that she had not raised any red flags while in office despite knowing about the RM2.6 billion in his bank account prior to the 13th general election.
“I wish to categorically state that this claim is false. I had no knowledge of this RM2.6 billion remitted into his account,” Zeti, who is now a member of the Council of Eminent Persons, said in a statement.
“In fact, on 3 July 2015, I was called to the prime minister’s office.
“He (Najib) made a request for me to issue a statement that he had done nothing wrong in his account. I informed him that I cannot issue such a statement because I did not have knowledge of transactions that had occurred in his account.”
Zeti said she later received a call from a Cabinet minister who made the same request for her to issue such a statement, which she again turned down by giving the same reason.
Najib had said that if Bank Negara had doubts over the source of the funds, he would have expected the central bank to tell him.
He said that did not happen and he had assumed that everything was fine.
Earlier today, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said that he had met Zeti at a function where she told him that she was upset as Najib’s claims were not true.
Zeti also said that BNM relied on information provided by financial institutions that reported on suspicious transactions by account holders.
“The banking community is fully aware of the regulations and guidelines governing the reporting of any suspicious transactions and for the necessary due diligence on the operations of any such accounts,” she said.
“Unless the relevant banking institution reports to BNM of irregularities in an account or if BNM received a tip-off that gives a reason to believe that an offence has occurred, the central bank is not able to initiate an investigation into the account,” she added.
Reports by The Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report in 2015 claimed that US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) from state investment fund 1MDB was transferred to Najib’s account prior to the 2013 polls.
However, Najib insisted that the RM2.6 billion was a donation from the Saudi royal family and that RM2.5 billion (US$620 million) was returned to the donor.