Malaysian PM Mahathir prepares for probe into 1MDB corruption scandal | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

19 October, Friday


Malaysian PM Mahathir prepares for probe into 1MDB corruption scandal

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Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Monday he would appoint a new chief of the country's anti-graft agency and that all alleged crimes committed by previous government would be investigated.
 
Addressing a news conference, the 92-year-old Mahathir said all government ministries had been instructed that no documents could be taken out or destroyed.
 
Mahathir arrived Monday at his office in the administrative capital Putrayaja to officially get down to work, and held meetings with senior civil servants.
 
Disgraced former Prime Minister Najib Razak was Monday accused by a former top graft fighter of blocking probes into a massive financial scandal.
 
Najib's Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition last week suffered a historic defeat to an alliance of parties headed by Mahathir and jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, ending the corruption-mired regime's six decades in power.
 
Voters turned out en masse to oust Najib after he was accused of involvement in plundering huge sums from Malaysian sovereign fund 1MDB in a sophisticated fraud that is now being investigated in several countries.
 
Abdul Razak Idris -- former intelligence and investigations director of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission -- lodged reports with the body alleging Najib tried to stop the probe into losses at 1MDB.
 
The U.S. State Department alleges that at least $4.5 billion dollars was looted from the fund, and funneled to the United States where it was used to buy everything from artwork to high-end real estate and a luxury yacht.
 
The deputy chief commissioner of the anti-graft body, Azam Baki, confirmed to AFP that Abdul Razak had submitted complaints.
 
A copy of the complaints, seen by AFP, said that Najib was suspected on his own, or with the help of civil servants, of having tried to stop the 1MBD investigations.
 
He was also accused of halting a probe into a retirement fund.
 
"The reason I am lodging the reports today is so that the MACC can take swift action," he was cited as saying by The Star newspaper.
 
He said some people were worried about him taking the "bold" step but added: "I'm already 69 years old. If I die, I die for the country."
 
Mahathir said Monday the attorney general has been told to go on leave pending an investigation of his role in allegedly covering up the massive scandal. Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in 2016.
 
Mahathir, who earlier cast doubt on Apandi's credibility, said Monday that the country's solicitor-general will take over Apandi's job while he goes on leave.
 
During Najib's increasingly authoritarian rule, the anti-graft agency had targeted some of his most vocal critics.
 
Over the weekend, Mahathir put Najib and his unpopular wife Rosmah Mansor under a travel ban as speculation mounted they were about to flee the country.
 
Mahathir said he hopes to form his core cabinet within this week, after appointing three ministers over the weekend.
 
Anwar issued a statement Sunday insisting his People's Justice Party (PKR) still supported the new premier after a senior figure from his party said the cabinet appointments were made without their consultation.
 
He is expected to be freed Tuesday.

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