Task force: Findings on BNM forex scandal to be presented to Cabinet in three months

A general view of the headquarters of Bank Negara Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. — Reuters pic
A general view of the headquarters of Bank Negara Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — The Cabinet will be shown in an estimated three months’ time the findings into Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) losses in the 1990s over foreign currency transactions, a task force said today.

Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hj Hassan, who is chairing the recently-formed special task force probing the decades-old scandal, urged the public to share any relevant information they may have with his team by sending emails to taskforcefx@treasury.gov.my or by calling 03-8000 8000.

“We aim to complete the investigation and present our findings to the Cabinet in 3 months.

“This will include a recommendation on whether a Royal Commission of Inquiry should be formed to investigate these claims in greater detail,” the former chief secretary to the government said in a statement.

Mohd Sidek, who was appointed by the Cabinet on February 22 to lead the task force, announced today that the Ministry of Finance’s Strategic Investment division director Datuk Dr Yusof Ismail will be both the task force’s secretary and head of its secretariat.

Mohd Sidek also unveiled the six other members of his task force, including Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) deputy chief commissioner Datuk Azam Baki; the federal police’s Commercial Crimes Department director CP Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani; Securities Commission Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh; pension fund Kumpulan Wang Amanah Persaraan (Kwap) CEO Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad.

Pemudah co-chair Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon and lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos are also on the task force.

Mohd Sidek said his task force’s terms of reference includes the conducting of preliminary investigations into BNM’s losses linked to its “speculative foreign currency transactions”, as well as to determine “whether there was action to cover up the losses, and whether there was any act of giving misleading statements on the matter to Parliament”.

The task force’s terms of reference would also involve the submitting of recommendations — including the formation of an RCI if necessary based on the investigation findings — to the government for further action.

To meet its goals, the special task force will examine the roles and functions played by BNM and any other individuals or bodies in speculative foreign currency transactions, including on the transactions’ authorisation and management, he said.

He said the task force will also look into compliance of the relevant laws, regulations and guidelines on BNM’s roles and functions in such transactions, as well as “whether there was any attempt to cover up the real scale of BNM’s losses and the individual(s) complicit in the cover up”.

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