No evidence of wrongdoing by Najib: PAC chief

Public Accounts Committee chief Hasan Arifin, who said that the inquiry found no evidence of criminal misconduct related to the misuse of funds or any 1MDB activity that was illegal.
Public Accounts Committee chief Hasan Arifin, who said that the inquiry found no evidence of criminal misconduct related to the misuse of funds or any 1MDB activity that was illegal.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR • Prime Minister Najib Razak was not mentioned in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) tabled in the Dewan Rakyat because it did not find any evidence to indicate wrongdoing or abuse of power, said PAC chief Hasan Arifin.

This was the conclusion and consensus of the PAC members, who comprised Barisan Nasional and opposition MPs, he said in an interview with Bernama on Friday.

The parliamentary committee, said Datuk Hasan, investigated every allegation against the Prime Minister over a period of 18 months.

Datuk Seri Najib, who founded 1MDB, has come under fire over the debt-saddled state fund's woes and his own acceptance of a US$681 million (S$918 million) payment which he maintained was a personal donation from the Saudi royal family, and not from 1MDB.

He was cleared of corruption in January by Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi, who said Mr Najib had since returned US$620 million to the Saudi royals.

In the Bernama interview, Mr Hasan said the inquiry found no evidence of criminal misconduct related to the misuse of funds or any 1MDB activity that was illegal.

The PAC, he said, also found no evidence to indicate any wrongdoing or abuse of power by the Prime Minister in relation to 1MDB and that there was no "missing" RM42 billion (S$14.5 billion) as alleged by former premier Mahathir Mohamad, as this had been accounted for.

Pinning the blame on 1MDB's former chief executive Shahrol Halmi, he said the PAC identified several instances where the 1MDB management had failed to adhere to proper governance processes, including not carrying out specific instructions of the board of directors and making decisions without the board's full approval.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 10, 2016, with the headline ''No evidence of wrongdoing by PM''. Print Edition | Subscribe