AG: MACC has to record statement from PM by year-end

12 Nov 2015 / 00:23 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has until the end of this year to record a statement from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak on the RM2.6 billion he received.
    Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali told online news portal The Malaysian Insider that he had directed the MACC to complete the investigations into former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd and the RM2.6 billion donation before the year-end as he took the public's concerns seriously.
    Apandi said he informed Najib of this, and that the prime minister agreed he would have to be questioned.
    "Sooner or later, before they (MACC) give the file, the prime minister must give his statement," said Apandi.
    On Aug 5, the MACC said it would question Najib over the donation, which the commission established came from a Middle Eastern donor.
    However, the government has yet to announce when the prime minister will be quizzed, with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low saying the MACC will call up Najib "when the time comes".
    Critics have accused the authorities of deliberately dragging their feet over the investigation, while the Conference of Rulers last month urged the government to complete the investigations related to 1MDB as soon as possible.
    Apandi said he was cognisant of the Malay rulers' statement as well as the public's concerns.
    "Immediately after the rulers' statement, on the night itself, I messaged the MACC: 'Hello, you'd better speed up.'
    "And then, in fact, to make sure they speed up, I said, 'complete investigations by the end of October.' That was my direction," he said.
    But he said the MACC later told him an Oct deadline was "impossible" to meet, so the date was changed to year-end.
    Apandi said the MACC would have to submit the file to him by that time, "by hook or by crook".
    He however acknowledged that cases involving movement of money from one company to another takes time as it involves tracing documents and tracking down and interviewing the ever-growing list of people involved.
    He pointed to the case of former Perwaja Steel boss Tan Sri Eric Chia Eng Hock, who was charged with RM76.4 million embezzlement in 2005 after "years and years" of investigation.
    But he confirmed that the MACC was making progress, and that its officers had already recorded statements from SRC International managing director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and director Datuk Suboh Md Yassin.
    However, Apandi said businessman Jho Taek Low, also known as Jho Low, had yet to be questioned as "he doesn't come into the picture yet".
    "If any of them (witnesses) start mentioning Jho Low, then they (MACC) will call for Jho Low," he said.
    Apandi added he believed the police would only start investigating 1MDB after the auditor-general's report on the state-owned investment firm was released.

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