KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A Malaysian parliamentary committee will reopen its probe into state fund 1MDB amid accusations that important information was omitted from an earlier investigation that took place when the previous government was in power.
Parliament approved Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng's motion for the investigation to be restarted, according to proceedings late on Thursday (Aug 16).
Mr Lim said it would allow former premier Najib Razak to clear his name and shed more light on wrongdoing that allegedly occurred at the investment company, The Star newspaper reported.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is seeking to fulfil an election campaign pledge to map out the scope of missteps at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) after he spent years accusing Najib's government of covering up alleged embezzlement and misuse of funds at the company. 1MDB has insisted all funds were accounted for.
The anti-graft agency and police have also restarted investigations, while the Finance Ministry has commissioned an audit of 1MDB's accounts by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The bipartisan Public Accounts Committee (PAC) concluded its probe in 2016 and issued a 106-page report detailing at least US$4.2 billion of unauthorised and unverified transactions.
It called for an investigation into former chief executive officer Shahrol Halmi and other unidentified managers, while absolving their political bosses of responsibility for a scandal that had roiled markets and sparked worldwide graft probes.
The PAC later released transcripts from a parliamentary hearing that underlined Najib's role in deciding on the questionable deals that bypassed the board of directors and Finance Ministry. Najib once chaired 1MDB's advisory board.
The transcripts showed 1MDB and government officials making multiple references to Article 117 of the fund's Constitution, which states that all matters need authorisation from the then premier.
Meanwhile, officials from the Finance Ministry, the sole shareholder of 1MDB, told the PAC they were not consulted on the fund's investment decisions or finances.
Najib has pleaded not guilty to several charges linked to a former unit of the state fund and denied having knowledge of wrongdoing at 1MDB. He didn't object to the reopening of a probe by the PAC, but said in Parliament this week that the aim shouldn't be to "look for faults".
Separately, on Friday (Aug 17), former Cabinet minister Khairy Jamaluddin expressed full support for Mr Lim's move to have the Auditor-General and Public Accounts Committee reopen the 1MDB probe.
Umno and its Barisan Nasional alliance did not want to carry this “live carcass” anymore, said the one-time youth and sports minister, who last month failed to win the Umno presidency.
“We want the people to find out the truth about 1MDB. We want to make sure we are free of this burden,” Mr Khairy told a press conference.
“We also want to find out the truth because, you know, as former Cabinet ministers, there were also things that we were not told."
“Because before this, we didn’t know. There were things that were hidden from us,” he said.