Malaysia's A-G: Najib must give statement on donation

Malaysia's A-G: Najib must give statement on donation
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

PETALING JAYA - Attorney General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali has given the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission until the end of the year to interview Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak over the RM2.6 billion (S$842 million) donation in the latter's bank account.

In an interview with news portal The Malaysian Insider, Apandi said the MACC would have to, sooner or later, hand over the investigation files to him and he (Apandi) wants the file complete with Najib's statement.

Apandi said he had also informed Najib that he would have to be questioned and Najib agreed.

Apandi said he had directed MACC to complete the investigations into SRC International Sdn Bhd, the former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary, and the RM2.6 billion donation before the year end, taking cognisant of the Malay rulers' statement as well as the public's concerns.

Last month, the Conference of Rulers in a statement urged the government to complete the investigations into 1MDB as soon as possible.

Apandi said: "Because of the concerns of the public and whatnot... in fact immediately after the rulers' statement, on the night itself, I messaged MACC. 'Hello, you'd better speed up.' And then, to make sure they speed up, I said, 'complete investigations by the end of October.' That was my direction.

"But they came back, 'Tan Sri, almost impossible, end of October. Because there are so many other statements to be recorded.'

"Fine. Because you cannot push. So they came back, and said, 'We need at least another month or so.' I said, 'I must have a deadline.' If you ask people who work under me, when I ask you to do it today, I prefer it be done yesterday. That is my style. You ask this to anyone who had worked with me.

"And I pushed them. They said, 'end of October cannot.' I said, whatever it is, before the end of the year.

"I said by hook or crook, I want it that way. I mean, I gave them ample time. I know it's not an easy task, but..." Apandi told the portal.

To a question whether he had informed the prime minister that he has to give a statement, Apandi said: "Yes. And sooner or later, before they give me the file, PM must give his statement. You can write that down."

"And I've told the prime minister, 'Hello sir, you have got to a give statement. One day or the other.' And he agreed."

MACC has said it would question Najib over the donation, which came from a Middle Eastern donor. Critics have accused the authorities of deliberately dragging their feet over the investigation.

Despite this, Apandi said he felt MACC's investigation into the case was moving at a "reasonable pace."

He said such investigations were not as straight forward as a murder case where "you go to the scene of the crime, find the weapon, record the statements of the eyewitnesses, send the weapon to the Chemistry Department, case closed."

In the SRC case, he said a lot of statements had to be taken from witnesses and "investigations of this nature, movement of money from one company to another, will take time."

He said it involved the tracing of documents, those who received, gave or handled the money.

"It's much easier to investigate a murder case. For this case, you cannot do that.

"This, you record one statement... but because it involves administration of a business organisation, you record from A. A will mention B, C, D. So after recording A, you will still have to find B, C, D to get the flow of the story. And in the course of recording B, C, D, these B, C, D will mention another E, F, G, H, I, J, K. Almost endless. And some of the people may be overseas. So they've got to go overseas, to record."

Apandi was appointed A-G to replace Tan Sri Gani Patail at a controversial moment when MACC enforcement officers were arrested or transferred and the Cabinet reshuffled over the 1MDB investigations.

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