Malaysian anti-graft group to refer PM Najib's case to review panel

Malaysian anti-graft group to refer PM Najib's case to review panel

KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (Macc) said yesterday it was referring its findings concerning vast sums of money received by Prime Minister Najib Razak to a higher panel for review, although the attorney-general wants the cases closed.

The Operations Review Panel (PPO), an independent body formed by the government to monitor the anti-graft agency's operation in line with the 2009 Macc Act, could appoint a special group to review Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali's decision on Mr Najib's cases, the Macc said in a statement yesterday.

Macc's special operations director Bahri Mohd Zin also personally spoke about his agency's intent to appeal against the AG's decision, the Star daily reported.

It is not known what action the PPO could take should it find Mr Apandi's judgment flawed.

The AG announced on Tuesday that he found no wrongdoing by Mr Najib following corruption probes by Macc on SRC International - a company linked to debt-ridden state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad - and the RM2.6 billion (S$875 million) found in the prime minister's private bank accounts.

According to Mr Apandi, the Prime Minister had broken no law as most of that money was a political donation from the Saudi royal family.

He also said investigations showed Mr Najib had not used his position to channel RM4 billion from the Retirement Fund Incorporated into SRC International, which was later found to have put RM42 million into the leader's account.

Mr Bahri was abruptly transferred to the Prime Minister's Department last August after speaking up against "interference" in the Macc probes but was reinstated three days later following protests, according to the Malaysian Insider.

The news website also said it was told by sources that Macc had recommended Mr Najib be charged with criminal misappropriation but was overruled by Mr Apandi.

"I was right when I predicted that the AG will reject the report by the Macc," former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has been pressing for Mr Najib to step down, wrote yesterday in his blog.

Political watchers said Mr Apandi is known to be a Najib loyalist.

A BBC report yesterday quoted a Saudi source as saying that the late King Abdullah did donate RM2.08 billion to Mr Najib to help him win the 2013 elections.

However, the BBC also said questions are still being asked about the secretive and convoluted nature of the money transfer.


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