Openness, Transparency and Accountability are Indispensable to Eradicate Corruption — Steven Thiru

PRESS RELEASE: Openness, Transparency and Accountability are Indispensable to Eradicate Corruption
Source: The Malaysian Bar

Logo-majlis-peguam-malaysia-malaysian-bar-councilThe Malaysian Bar is very perturbed by recent reports that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (“MACC”)’s special operations division is being downsized[1], six of its senior officers are being transferred,[2] and its director Bahri Mohamad Zin has taken optional retirement, reportedly due to his unhappiness over the alleged inaction in respect of investigations into SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.[3]  The division reportedly handled high-profile cases relating to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”) and Federal Land Development Authority (“FELDA”).

These developments are disquieting because they reinforce the public perception that although one-and-a-half years have passed since it was revealed that funds of about USD700 million (approximately MYR2.7 billion) were transferred between private banks, offshore companies and funds linked to 1MDB, and then deposited into the personal accounts of the Prime Minister in AmIslamic Bank Berhad,[4] the authorities are reluctant or unwilling to get to the bottom of the serious allegations of financial impropriety concerning 1MDB, and bring action against those guilty of any wrongdoing.

This is in stark contrast to the developments in at least 11 countries — Australia, British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, and Venezuela — where there have been investigations, measures imposed on financial institutions, criminal prosecutions and convictions, and proceedings for forfeiture of assets.

These actions raise serious questions regarding the investigations that are apparently being conducted in our own jurisdiction, and expose the lack of transparency regarding the findings.  It is indeed unsettling that no one has yet been prosecuted in Malaysia for any of the allegations. Read more