Kuala Lumpur —Latheefa Beebi Koya, the head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) who had headed the investigation into the multi-billion dollar 1MDB scandal, announced her resignation on Friday (Mar 6).
Ms Latheefa had been appointed to the position of MACC head in June 2019. The longtime lawyer and human rights activist is a member of the People’s Justice Party (PKR).
In confirming her resignation, she said there had been no pressure on her to step down from her post. She added that the new Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, who is supported by UMNO, the political party ousted in the General Election of 2018 and has since returned to power, is ‘fully supportive’ of the investigations into the 1MDB scandal and understands her choice to resign as the head of the MACC.
She also added that she wishes to go back to her work as an advocate for human rights.
In a statement, Ms Latheefa said, “I also briefed the prime minister about our ongoing actions and efforts for the recovery of the stolen 1MDB monies from abroad. He was fully supportive of these actions.”
The MACC head’s resignation comes on the heels of that of Tommy Thomas, Malaysia’s attorney general, another key person who has brought corruption charges against former Prime Minister Najib Razak, as well as other members of his administration. Mr Thomas stepped down last week.
Last month, after the MACC made nine audio recordings public involving conversations between Mr Najib and other individuals, Mr Najib took to Facebook to show his dissatisfaction. Moreover, he called the release of the clips invalid.
But according to Ms Latheefa, the contents of the recordings of phone conversations, said to be dating from between January 5 and July 29, 2016, and are in connection to the 1MDB scandal, were “shocking, sordid and very disturbing.”
Ms Latheefa said, upon hearing of Mr Najib’s reaction, “I have only one answer…he has the right to do whatever he wants to do. Everyone, including members of the public, has the right to express their views.”
The MACC head said that the clips were being released as an issue of public interest.
The people whose voices were believed to be on the recordings were Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed Zayed Al-Nahyan, former MACC chief Dzulkifli Ahmad, along with the former Prime Minister and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, among others.
Last October, MACC stepped up its 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 Najib, as well as other individuals and companies.
Ms Latheefa told members of the press then 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. -/TISG