Saturday, August 13, 2016

Did Datuk Mohammad Ibrahim cut a deal not to investigate Dato’ Seri Najib Razak for money-laundering offences to secure his appointment as the new Bank Negara Governor?

New Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor, Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim announced yesterday that there would be no reopening of investigations on 1MDB despite the spate of new evidence disclosed by United States Department of Justice (DOJ). He said that the central bank has already taken all necessary action against 1MDB.

"We have completed our investigations into 1MDB based on the information and investigation papers. We have imposed a penalty on the company. We have taken all necessary action entrusted on us by the law and we have closed the investigation," Muhammad said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

This single announcement has in one swift blow, destroyed all the credibility BNM has painstakingly accumulated over the past 2 decades.  The international financial community and government authorities will only laugh with incredulity how 1MDB was slapped on the wrist with an undisclosed administrative penalty when the DOJ charges that 1MDB and Malaysian officials have colluded to scam and launder more than USD3.5 billion from the company.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing (Amendment) Act 2013 (“AMLA”) states that any person is deemed to have committed an offence if he or she “acquires, receives, possesses, disguises, transfers, converts, exchanges, carries, disposes of or uses proceeds of an unlawful activity” or “removes from or brings into Malaysia, proceeds of an unlawful activity”.

Bank Negara Malaysia, as the competent authority under the AMLA, must hence not abdicate from its responsibility to commence investigations into the above highly suspicious transactions for all relevant offences under the Act.

Worst, the DOJ specified that a significant part of the laundered funds found its way into the Malaysian banking system.  In particular, the charges established that USD731 million was deposited into the personal bank account of a “Malaysian Official One” (MO1) between 2011 and 2013. And the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan acknowledged that only an idiot would not know that MO1 refers to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

In addition, it is also an offence when one “conceals, disguises or impedes the establishment of the true nature, origin, location, movement, disposition, title of, rights with respect to, or ownership of, proceeds of an unlawful activity”.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has not only received the illicit funds, he had tried to conceal the transfers by pretending that it is a “donation” from some mysterious unnamed Arab donor, which has now proven to be a complete lie.

The question for the Bank Negara Governor is very simple - has Dato’ Seri Najib Razak been investigated for multi-billion ringgit money laundering scam which has been highlighted by the US DOJ?

As far as we are aware, based on public announcements by BNM, 1MDB has only been investigated for improper disclosure to the central bank for its fund transfers overseas.  The elements of a money laundering conspiracy involving top 1MDB officials and the Prime Minister has never been carried out.

Why is Dato’ Seri Najib Razak immune to money laundering investigations by BNM?  Why is Datuk Mohammad Ibrahim failing to restore the integrity and protect the sanctity of our financial system from money laundering activities aggressively like other jurisdictions?

The Rakyat are now asking if this is because the newly appointed Governor has struck a secret deal with the Prime Minister to secure his appointment?

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