Kuala Lumpur— The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency or MACC stepped up their efforts to recover as much lost 1MDB money as possible, claiming RM420 million (S$138 million) from 80 people and entities.
Among the people fined are the brother of former Prime Minister Datu Seri Najib Razak, as well as other individuals and companies.
MACC head Latheefa Koya told members of the press that it is the agency’s aim to recover RM420 million (S$138 million) from people and firms that had reportedly received funds that were laundered via accounts connected to the former Prime Minister.
According to investigators from the United States and Malaysia, around US$4.5 billion (S$6 billion) in total was misappropriated from the fund, which had been established by Mr Najib a decade ago.
The former Prime Minister is currently facing multiple charges of corruption and money laundering for allegedly receiving around US$1 billion (S$1.38 billion) from the state fund, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Ms Latheefah told the press, “We have issued compound notices against all of these people and entities for the purpose of them to pay up the fine.”
She also said that the people who received the notices could be fined as much as 2.5 times the amount they reportedly received.
The former chairman of Malaysia’s second-largest bank, CIMB, Nazir Razak, who is the brother of the former Prime Minister is one of the people who have been fined. Another is the former chairman of state palm oil agency Felda, Shahrir Abdul Samad.
Ms Latheefa said that from the state fund, Mr Nazir reportedly received around RM25.7 million (S$ 8.5 million).
Neither Mr Nazir nor Mr Shahrir have commented on the fines meted to them.
MACC provided a list of people and companies fined, which included firms, organizations and political parties which all have connections to former Prime Minister Najib Razak, a list, Ms Latheefa said, which is yet incomplete.
“It’s not exhaustive, we have more,” she told the press.
Moreover, investigations are also being carried out into these 80 businesses and individuals.
It was reported in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in 2015 that Mr Nazir had received about US$7 million (S$ 9.7 million) from the former Prime Minister and then later distributed the money to other politicians prior to Malaysia’s 2013 elections.
After the report came out, Mr Nazir went on a leave of absence at CIMB. An independent review was carried out and determined that there had been no misuse of position nor the inappropriate use of the resources of CIMB. Mr Nazir then returned to the bank as its chairman, where he remained until 2018, resigning after 30 years of service at CIMB.
After last year’s General Election in Malaysia in May, which Mr Najib lost, the police raided various homes and offices connected to him. The police then seized huge amounts of cash, luxury goods and other items from some of the homes said to belong to Najib and or his wife, Rosmah Mansor.
Commissioner Amar Singh, who had been the commercial crime investigation department director at Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Aman police headquarters, described the seizure as the biggest in Malaysia’s history, with the total value of the items seized estimated to be between RM900 million (S$295.6 million) and RM1.1 billion (S$ 361.3 million).
Mr Najib, along with and Arul Kanda Kandasamy, who used to helm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), were charged with tampering the final 1MDB audit report on December 12, 2018, at a Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.
Mr Najib allegedly used his office as Prime Minister and ordered that the audit report concerning the controversial 1MDB be altered between February 22 and 26, 2016, at the Prime Minister’s Office, before this report was finalized and prepared for presentation to the Public Accounts Committee.
In the report, mentions of Malaysian fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) were allegedly removed.
He was charged with violating Section 28(1)(c) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and could face a maximum of 20 years in jail, plus a fine of five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever amount is higher./ TISG