Finance minister: Under BN, officials barred from accessing ‘red files’

Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya May 22, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya May 22, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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PUTRAJAYA, May 22 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has accused the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) led government of barring officers from the Treasury and Auditor General’s Department from accessing certain accounts, reports and files.

In his first press conference as finance minister, Lim told reporters that he was shocked when Deputy Treasurer-General Datuk Siti Zauyah Mohd Desa and Auditor-General Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad complained that these “red files” were only accessible to certain parties.

“Both of them briefed me on the current status on the nation’s finances and the shocking revelation that they were not able to access certain accounts and reports.

“There were also complaints that certain “red” files that were only accessible to certain parties which impeded officials and auditors from carrying out their professional responsibilities with integrity.

“It is clear that the previous government has conducted an exercise of deception to the public about certain hot button items, especially 1MDB, and even misrepresented the financial situation to Parliament,” said Lim.

His ministry will continue with its thorough investigation and ongoing discovery measures to uncover the necessary financial information and data. The “red files” were mostly connected to the 1MDB global financial scandal but there are also other “red files” connected to other issues.

Lim also gave a directive allowing all accounts to be accessible to both Treasury and the Auditor-General in the interest of competency, accountability and transparency.

When asked if he will take action against officers who classified the “red files” Lim said the officers were operating under orders.

“Personnel were barred from accessing red files. The officials who didn’t want the files accessed were operating under orders. I’m not going to name who, but I think you guys can tell,” said Lim.

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