No evidence to indicate wrongdoing or abuse of power by PM Najib, says Malaysian parliamentary panel chief

Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin.
Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin. PHOTO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was not mentioned in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) because it did not find any evidence to indicate wrongdoing or abuse of power, the committee's chairman said.

This was the unanimous conclusion and consensus of the PAC members, which comprised Barisan Nasional and opposition MPs, Datuk Hasan Arifin said in an interview with Bernama on Friday (April 8).

The PAC, said Mr Hasan, investigated every allegation and accusation hurled at the Prime Minister over a period of 18 months.

 

However, the findings of the PAC were geared towards the chronic failure of the outlined processes, regulations and procedures, for which the 1MDB management - and not the Government - should be held responsible, he said.

The Government, said Mr Hasan, had always maintained that the allegations and accusations of corruption, misappropriation of funds and abuse of power were false and baseless.

He also said the impartiality of the PAC and its ability to convene without the presence of the media, the public and the Government were among the attributes that allowed it to come up with a balanced, accurate and fair conclusion.

"True, there were arguments and objections on some issues but we eventually reached a conclusion as can be seen in this report," he said.

Mr Hasan said the conclusion was also reached - thanks to unlimited access to information and abundant parliamentary resources.

Among the points in the conclusion were that there was no evidence to suggest criminal misconduct related to the misuse of funds or investment transactions or investments or any 1MDB activity that was illegal in nature, he said.

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 had been alleged as this had already been accounted for.

Mr Hasan said there was also no payment from 1MDB to the personal accounts of the Prime Minister.

The PAC, he said, identified several instances where the 1MDB management had failed to adhere to proper governance processes, including not implementing specific instructions of the board of directors, making decisions prior to the board's full approval and failing to be transparent with it.

"To that end, specific recommendations were made in the report which we believe the relevant authorities will evaluate and take action - if necessary," he said.

Asked if there was a mechanism for anyone to appeal against the findings, such as through the courts or judicial review, Mr Hasan said since the PAC did not impose penalties, it was needless.

"The PAC does not impose penalties. It is needless for any appeal. The PAC's jurisdiction is to verify fiduciary compliance and point out violations that need further evaluation or investigation by the relevant authorities," he said.