Why is Najib allowed to be the one and only person responsible for the metamorphosis from three-agency government probe to four “Tan Sri” special task force on WSJ report and now wide-ranging powers to investigate all allegations about 1MDB scandal when he is the “accused” in the investigation?
Yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has joined the chorus of support for Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak expressing confidence that the special task force set up to investigate all insinuations and allegations hurled against 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) recently will conduct its investigations in a transparent and fair manner.
He said all parties should have confidence in the special task force set up to find whether the allegations were true or otherwise, stressing that “the task force was established not to find faults, but to investigate comprehensively all allegations made”.
Muhyiddin’s support for the special task force, although calling for the investigation to be “transparent and according to the law, without fear or favour” should ignite more concerns about the purpose, scope, credibility and even composition of the special task force investigation by the four Tan Sris, namely Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed.
I am very concerned by Muhyiddin’s statement for it bears the strongest proof that the government keeps changing its goal post about investigations into Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report on July 3 that Malaysian government investigators have found some US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) deposited into Najib’s personal accounts at AmBank in March 2013, shortly before the dissolution of Parliament on April 3, 2013 in the run-up to the 13th General Election.
At first, the government through the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail conceded the existence of documents on the deposit of RM2.6 billion into Najib’s personal bank accounts in AmBank in March 2013.
In a statement a day after the WSJ report, Gani said a task force investigating state fund 1MDB had passed several documents to him, including ones connected to allegations that money was transferred into the account of prime minister Najib Razak.
He said the documents were given to him by the task force made up of members of the country’s anti-corruption commission, police and central bank.
Gani said: “This team has several documents that were passed for me to check. I have verified that I have received these documents on 1MDB including documents connected to allegations that money was transferred into the account of the prime minister.”
He said he had given guidance to the task force to take further action, but did not specify what action would be initiated.
But this mysterious tripartite task force comprising members of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Police and Bank Negara was mysteriously transformed into a “special task force” on the WSJ report and allegation comprising the quartet of four “Tan Sri” heads of Bank Negara, MACC, RMP and AG’s Chambers.
I don’t think even Ministers can tell when this transformation from a three-agency task for into four “Tan Sris” “special task force” took place and at whose command and authority?
Who is the head of the four “Tan Sris” special task force? Is it Tan Sri Gani, Tan Sri Khalid, Tan Sri Zeti or Tan Sri Abu Kassim? Or or it headless or do we have a hydra-headed “special task force”? I don’t think apart from Najib, any one in Cabinet or government can give an answer.
What are the terms of reference of this “4 Tan Sris” “special task force”?
The Prime Minister said on Wednesday that the scope of the special task force investigating WSJ’s claims against him was whether he used 1MDB funds for his personal interest.
Najib said in his blog: “The investigation by the special task force is to determine whether WSJ allegation that I took 1MDB funds for my personal interest has basis or not.
“The investigation must consider the veracity of the documents published by the newspaper to support their actions.”
This a very restricted and undesirable scope for the special task force, for even more pertinent questions which the special task force should be probing are:
- Whether Najib has three personal bank accounts in AmBank;
- Whether some US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) of funds were deposited into his personal accounts in 2013 just before the dissolution of Parliament on April 3, 2013 in the run-up to the 13th General Election;
- If so, where the RM2.6 billion came from; and
- Where these RM2.6 billion have gone to.
The public do not know whether the “special task force” is looking for answers to these four questions, as all that has been revealed is the vow by the Attorney General that the “special task force” will hunt down the culprits behind the leak to the WSJ – as if this is the most important issue at the moment!
Now we are told by Muhyiddin that the special task force was established to investigate “comprehensively” all the allegations made about 1MDB.
When was the latest transformation of the scope of the “special task force” made?
Does Muyiddin knows what he is talking about? Are the Cabinet Ministers briefed and taken into confidence every time the goal posts of the task force inquiry is changed?
Clearly, only one person is in the know about all these transformations which show the unhealthy and undemocratic concentration of powers in Malaysia in one person, the Prime Minister, which goes against the very concept and principles of Cabinet Government and Parliamentary Democracy in Malaysia.
The question 30 million Malaysians want to know is: Why is Najib the one and only person responsible for the metamorphosis from the three-agency government probe to four “Tan Sris” special task force on WSJ report and now wide-ranging powers to investigate all allegations about 1MDB scandal when he is the “accused” in the investigation?
Furthermore, what is the purpose of the investigation whether by the Auditor-General or the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, or are we having a situation where everyone under the Prime Minister is investigting the 1MDB scandal, and nobody expect the Prime Minister himself, would know what is happening to these investigations?
The rigmarole about the “headless” or hydra-headed four-Tan Sris “special task force” subservient and subordinate to the Prime Minister should be disbanded and replaced by a high-powered Royal Commission of Inquiry to inquire all aspects of the 1MDB scandal, including the WSJ report and allegation of RM2.6 billion deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts in March 2013.
This is a decision the Cabinet should take at its meeting on Wednesday or all the Cabinet Ministers should collectively resign for failing the Malaysian people and nation in ensuring that the Malaysian government complies with the highest standards of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance in getting to the bottom of the 1MDB scandal.