Thursday, June 30, 2022

Ex-1MDB chairman says complaining to Najib would have been like ‘implicating’ former PM

Mohd Bakke Salleh says this was why he never complained directly to Najib himself.

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Former 1MDB chairman Mohd Bakke Salleh told the Kuala Lumpur High Court today that he did not complain directly to Najib Razak about irregularities in 1MDB as it would be like implying that the former prime minister was involved.

The 68-year-old witness said this during re-examination by lead prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram in the former prime minister’s trial for the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds.

Sri Ram asked why, at that point of time, he did not make a complaint to the finance ministry and Najib about his frustrations over what had happened in 1MDB.

Bakke replied that it would have been like making a complaint against the former prime minister himself.

“Complaining on the loss of sheep to the wolf!” quipped Sri Ram.

“That was the thing, because from the early part of my involvement as a board member, I was already not comfortable,” Bakke added.

“I had this feeling of discomfort, especially when I found out that the management had split the remittance, so that was the trigger. I felt very uncomfortable about the whole thing.

“And that prompted me to resign. I wanted to resign on the spot, to go back to the PM and tell him what had happened and that I had my suspicions about him. I was not comfortable and that was difficult.”

He added that Najib had never asked him why he resigned from the company although he had on many occasions met Najib after leaving.

Sri Ram: After you resigned, were you satisfied that he (Najib) was aware that you had resigned?

Bakke: Najib never asked me why I resigned. It was business as usual.

Bakke was the 1MDB chairman from September 2009 until Oct 19, 2009 when he resigned to protest the irregularities in 1MDB’s US$1 billion deal.

Earlier, when queried by Najib’s counsel Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, he said he was unaware of whether the family of former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz had received proceeds from the transactions of the sovereign wealth fund.

He said he became aware of the matter recently through media reports.

Wan Aizuddin: Tan Sri, did you know that as of January 2022, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had been investigating Zeti, her husband and Nor Mohamed Yakcop under the anti-money laundering act?

Deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustafa P Kunyalam objected to the lawyer’s question, saying it had nothing to do with the witness.

However, judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah allowed the question as it was general in nature.

Najib, 68, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial continues on June 7.

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