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Monday, May 3, 2021

Shamsiah Deliberately Suppressed Information To Protect Zeti’s Family

 

BY BANK NEGARA INSIDER

In 2015 and 2016, the Singapore Authority informed the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Bank Negara Malaysia regarding suspicious transactions involving a company owned by the husband and sons of its former governor, Zeti Akhtar Aziz, with the funds coming from accounts linked to Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low.

This involved suspicious funds going into the bank account of Iron Rhapsody Ltd, which it confirmed was owned by Zeti’s husband, Dr Tawfiq Ayman, and their two sons. According to documents shared by Malaysian investigators, Iron Rhapsody received a total of US$16.22 million (RM66 million) from companies/bank accounts of Jho Low.

The source of four of the transactions involved funds from ‘profits’ from Jho Low and his cohorts from the RM5 billion 1MDB/TIA (Terengganu Investment Authority) bonds arranged by Ambank in 2009. Low and others, via Aktis Capital Pte Ltd, Acme Time and Country Group Private Securities Ltd, made more than RM600 million in ‘profits’ from this deal.

It was Zeti and Shamsiah who gave Najib Tun Razak approval to bring the US$680 million into Malaysia

Tawfiq and Jho Low were also believed to have been partners in a company that Jho Low set up in July 2007 called Abu Dhabi Kuwait Malaysia (ADKMIC).

When this information was relayed by the Singapore Authority, Abd Rahman Abu Bakar (ARAB) was the Director in charge of FIU BNM and Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus was the Deputy Governor who was responsible of FIU. ARAB and Shamsiah are required under the law to share the information received from Singapore Authority to the relevant domestic Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) for further action.

However, Shamsiah has suppressed this information from:

a) The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM). PDRM is responsible to investigate on the possible money laundering issues. The ongoing investigation by PDRM was based on information that they received directly from CAD Singapore in 2018.

b) The Inland Revenue Department (JHDN). JHDN is responsible to investigate the possible tax evasion by Tawfiq and his family.

Zeti’s involvement with Jho Low had been known since 2015

For a number of years, Shamsiah and ARAB were able to cover up the 1MDB scandal involving Zeti and her family by ensuring that:

a) Documents and computer files were withheld from investigators and LEAs;

b) By taking direct control on the 1MDB files and documents until to date. All documents and files related to 1MDB can only be accessed by Shamsiah and ARAB. Despite ARAB is no longer the Head of FIU, he is still in charge on all matters related to 1MDB until to date;

c) Influencing investigators in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to abandon their investigations. This is evidence that until to date MACC has failed to take action against Zeti despite MACC has opened Investigation Paper on this matter;

d) Removing capable people and putting people that she can control in charge of the 1MDB investigation and other key Departments. Shamsiah never liked clean and smart people working for her because she can’t control them. All her subordinates are fearful of her and she never practices what she preaches and rules with an iron fist with the “my way or the highway” approach.

Most of BNM staff thinks Shamsiah is messing up big time. They used to have a passion for what they do and were eager to come to office and give it all and loved the challenge. However, in her quest for control, Shamsiah squelched every drop of energy they had, and now they just show up to endure the day and collect their pay-check.

Shamsiah transferred many senior staff out of strategic departments and position ARAB in charge of various key departments. One of the Assistant Governors was transferred to Labuan with totally unrelated job scopes and very much lower job grade. ARAB will always agree and facilitated in the suppressing of information to LEAs. As a reward ARAB has just been promoted to the Assistant Governor position.

Despite Shamsiah’s efforts to cover up the scandal, evidence gradually came to light to show widespread irregularities and fraud. The cover-up by Shamsiah and ARAB have simply exacerbated the 1MDB scandal. The repercussions of such cover-up is as serious as the original malpractices. In view of the possible ramifications sparked by the allegations, Shamsiah should clear the air about her involvement in suppressing information to authorities.

Zeti was under Tun Dr Mahathir’s protection

As the nation’s Central Bank, Bank Negara Malaysia is entrusted to promote the stability and integrity of the financial system and the sustainability of our economy. Widespread cover-up by ARAB and Shamsiah regarding 1MDB scandal have raised questions on whether the Central Bank can continue to uphold the trust that has been placed on it. These are very serious allegations and threaten the integrity of our central bank as well as our financial institutions.

A thorough investigation must be carried out and no stone must be left unturned. Investors and the public are keen to know the outcome of the investigation.

The fact remains that those who know and those who are in charge did not do enough translated to either conspire or assisting. Shamsiah should immediately relinquish her position as Governor of Bank Negara in order to protect the central bank’s image and reputation brought on by the negative perception due to this scandal.

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