Zeti, helpless, says central bank imposed highest fines in history on 1MDB

By Cordoba.Ali

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Giving the impressions that she might still be under some pressure from the powers that be, former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said the institution imposed the highest fines in Malaysian history on the embattled 1MDB.

“So, we could issue letters of administrative compound to relevant bodies and financial institutions breaching Bank Negara’s regulations in the 1MDB case. I would say the fines were probably the highest in history,” she told a Chinese vernacular daily.

But she did not reveal the amount paid by 1MDB or whether there was a ‘discount’ after she left her post as governor last year.

But she said Bank Negara was powerless to take further action than just some fines to “relevant bodies and financial institutions” over breach of regulations in relation to the 1MDB case.

Netizens however does not agree with her on this statement, saying she should and could have done more to expose the 1MDB issue which has since then been thrown under the carpet in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world seems to be out to topple Prime Minister Najib Razak’s regime, starting with the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

The government – through various officials – are saying the DOJ is in complicity with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to conspire in overthrowing Najib.

In Malaysia, such conspiracies can land a person in jail, but Mahathir is still walking freely amid the panic that has gripped the country.

Nevertheless, Zeti said the handling of the 1MDB case was one of her toughest moments in office, Sin Chew Daily reported.

“Although outsiders had very high expectations from Bank Negara, nevertheless, it did not have the power to prosecute.

“Bank Negara has the most comprehensive laws, including the Central Bank of Malaysia Act 2009 and Financial Services Act 2013 to preserve the integrity, stability and healthy functioning of the financial system,” she explained.

In March last year, BNM said it would initiate “appropriate action” against 1MDB for failing to produce evidence it had used the allocated US$1.83 billion for debt management and restructuring exercises overseas.

Once Zeti was out, the new governor Muhammad Ibrahim said the central bank’s investigations into 1MDB was over – after saying that he believed the government would handle the matter properly.

 

Zeti’s reticence to talk could be because she is still held captive by her duties to the country and the government since she has now been moved to Iclif, an organisation created and funded by BNM since 2003.

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