Malaysia's central bank submits investigation findings on 1MDB; says no power to probe Najib

Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said that she would remain in office till her term ends next year.
Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said that she would remain in office till her term ends next year.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR -  Malaysia's central bank has submitted to the Attorney-General its investigation findings into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) but it stressed that it was not empowered by law to probe embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak over a controversial sum of US$700 million (S$983 million) that was allegedly deposited into his private accounts over the past two years.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz also told a press conference on Thursday that seven of her officers had been questioned by police over leaks of banking information that led to the July 3 report in Wall Street Journal that alleged the money was received by Datuk Seri Najib.

When asked if the central bank had investigated Mr Najib, Tan Sri Zeti said "it is not under our purview".

"That is under other enforcement agencies," she said of the investigations into the funds that was reportedly deposited in the premier's accounts, of which US$681 million was received just weeks before the 2013  general election.

The ruling Umno party had called the money political funding and Malaysia's anti-graft agency had cleared it as donations from the Middle East.

"The central bank only looks at contravention of our law and assists other enforcement agencies that investigate contravention to their laws. This is all we can do," Dr Zeti added.

She pointed out that BNM monitors highly-leveraged companies - 1MDB has RM42 billion (S$15 billion) in debt as of Mar 2014 - and also those whose investments overseas it had approved.

She also denied allegations spread by "anonymous" individuals that her family had gained lucrative contracts from Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin - who was sacked as deputy premier on July 28 after repeatedly criticising the Prime Minister - and that the bank's personnel was conspiring to topple the Najib administration.

"There is no truth to these allegations against me personally and against the bank. We will seek out to identify who they are and take further legal action," she said.

Ms Zeti also dismissed rumours of her resignation, saying she planned to stay in her position until the end of her contract next year.