PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has confirmed that a charge sheet against ex-premier Najib Razak was prepared by former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail in 2015 before the legal adviser was promptly placed on early retirement by Datuk Seri Najib.
"He claims that he was preparing to charge Najib and that morning he was deprived of his position," said Tun Dr Mahathir at a press conference on Wednesday (May 16).
Tan Sri Abdul Gani was retired as AG in July 2015 due to what the government said were his "health problems" and replaced by Tan Sri Apandi Ali. Mr Abdul Gani was at the time heading a task force investigating money-laundering allegations at state fund 1MDB.
His dismissal sparked media speculation that he was preparing charges of criminal misappropriation against Mr Najib, after RM2.6 billion (S$880 million) allegedly linked to 1MDB was found in the former premier's personal account.
Mr Najib has said the funds were a donation from the Saudi royal family and he was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing by Mr Abdul Gani's replacement, Tan Sri Apandi.
Dr Mahathir, who heads the new Pakatan Harapan government that defeated Mr Najib's Barisan Nasional coalition at last Wednesday's election, has pledged to look into the previous government's dealings including at 1MDB. He met with Mr Abdul Gani on Tuesday.
In the meantime, Mr Apandi has been placed on forced leave by the new administration, with effect on Monday.
Several people have also been prevented from leaving the country, including Mr Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor.
According to news site Malaysiakini.com, others facing a travel ban are Mr Apandi, former national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar, former secretary-general of the Ministry of Finance and 1MDB chairman Irwan Serigar Abdullah, former chief of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Dzulkifli Ahmad and 1MDB chief executive Arul Kanda.
From his meetings with senior government officials where he was briefed on corruption, Dr Mahathir said: "It's clear there have been many more wrongdoings than what we know in public."
"We will make police reports, he said. "And if it reaches the point where we can make arrests, we will make the arrests."
The PM also promised to recover 1MDB funds that has been transferred abroad in a complex case where funds reportedly criss-crossed the globe. The fund flows have resulted in probes in several countries including in the US, Switzerland and Singapore.
"We want to make a statement that the money belongs to Malaysia and it came from 1MDB," he said, adding that the monies were expected to "help us resolve several debts we have".
But Dr Mahathir stressed that the new administration would still pay off 1MDB's substantial debts.
"If it implicates the government, the government has to pay," he said. "Otherwise we'll be sued or made bankrupt if we fail to pay".