No probe on 1MDB, AGC says of ‘new’ government team that now includes MACC

The Attorney-General’s Chambers said the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team would be taking over the role of the previous Special Task Force that was probing 1MDB matters. — File pic
The Attorney-General’s Chambers said the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team would be taking over the role of the previous Special Task Force that was probing 1MDB matters. — File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) announced today the line-up of an eight-agency task force that includes national graftbusters, saying the team will investigate revenue losses but not have anything to do with debt-riddled state company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The AGC also said the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team (NRRET) would take over the role of the previous Special Task Force, which was probing 1MDB matters, and is not “new” but a rebranding of the previous task force with the same aims, except that it won’t probe 1MDB.

“NRRET is not in any way involved with any investigations involving 1MDB and its related companies,” it said in a statement.

It said the task force has been in place since 2011.

The AGC said the NRRET will carry out the same functions of assisting the government in dealing with evasion of custom duties and tax by individuals and corporate bodies; smuggling activities; and misuse of subsidized goods.

This taskforce will also deal with illegal outflow of funds; and acts of corruption that lead to the above actions.

Amid recent outcry over the purported omission of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from this task force, the anti-graft agency’s name was included in the list of the NRRET’s name list today.

The other members of the NRRET are the AGC, the police, Bank Negara Malaysia, the Inland Revenue Department, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, the Domestic Trade Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

This task force will primarily streamline and coordinate enforcement actions by these multiple agencies, the AGC said.

Last Thursday, Chinese vernacular daily Sin Chew Daily reported MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull as saying that the anti-graft commission has no problem if it was indeed left out of the NRRET, saying that it would continue to carry out its work as usual as it is an independent body.

Sin Chew Daily had then reported of a new taskforce that comprises the AGC, the police, Bank Negara, the Customs Department and the Inland Revenue Board.

Early last month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on government investigators finding an alleged US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) money trail that was moved around firms linked to state-owned 1MDB, including its former subsidiary SRC International, before ending up in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal accounts.

Following the WSJ report, the special task force comprising the AGC, which was headed then by Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, the Bank Negara Malaysia, the police and the MACC - confirmed the subsequent raid of the offices of 1MDB, as well as several companies mentioned in the alleged money trail.

But shortly after Tan Sri Apandi Ali’s appointment as the new Attorney-General, MACC said he had said that the Special Task Force was no longer required, with the agencies’ internal teams to carry out their investigation separately.

In the same statement indicating the dismantling of the Special Task Force, the MACC had reiterated that RM2.6 billion was deposited into Najib’s accounts as a donation, saying that it was from Middle East donors and not from 1MDB.

The MACC statement then came after a series of crackdowns, where police arrested and questioned several of the anti-corruption body’s senior officers, while also raiding their homes and offices over an alleged leak of official information related to the money trail.

Najib has denied using public funds for personal gain.

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