Malaysia government audit finds nothing suspicious in 1MDB probe – report

Nur Jazlan Mohamed

(Reuters) – An interim report by the Malaysian government into debt-laden state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has found nothing suspicious after vetting its accounts, a parliamentary committee said on Thursday (Jul 9).

The bi-partisan Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the report by the auditor-general revealed nothing out of the ordinary but criticised 1MDB for failing to fully cooperate in investigations.

“There is nothing suspicious in the interim report,” said Mr Nur Jazlan Mohamed, head of the PAC, a group tasked to examine government accounts.

“1MDB is not fully cooperating with the auditor-general,” Mr Nur Jazlan told a news conference.

1MDB, with debts of over US$11 billion, is being probed by authorities for financial mismanagement and graft. The state-owned firm’s advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

In response to Mr Nur Jazlan’s comments, 1MDB president and executive director Arul Kanda said: “1MDB confirms that all documents in its possession have been submitted to the National Audit Department. He added that as requested by the PAC Chairman, 1MDB will immediately contact the National Audit Department to seek clarity on the documents he was referring to.

“As the interim report has not yet been shared with 1MDB, we are unable to comment on the PAC Chairman’s statement that certain documents appear to have not been submitted,” he said.

Mr Arul Kanda reiterated 1MDB’s commitment to fully cooperate with the Auditor-General and all authorities investigating the state-owned fund.

Last week the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that investigators looking into 1MDB had traced close to US$700 million of deposits into personal bank accounts belonging to Najib, according to documents from the probe.

Reuters has not verified the WSJ report.

Najib has denied taking some US$700 million for his personal gain while 1MDB said the allegations were “unsubstantiated”.

On Wednesday, police raided 1MDB’s office to collect materials for its ongoing investigations.

A special task force set up to investigate the firm and its dealings said on Thursday that authorities had confiscated bank statements, documents related to business and investment dealings and minutes of meetings with 1MDB’s board of directors.

It also clarified in a statement that its earlier directive this week did not involve freezing bank accounts belonging to Najib at Ambank Islamic because “the bank accounts had already been closed” in 2013 and early 2015 respectively.

Meanwhile Najib is currently weighing his legal options against the Journal.