Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad today accused Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of lying about the whereabouts of 1Malaysia Development Berhad's US$1.103 billion (RM3.97 billion) in funds, stating that there could be possible criminal wrongdoing.
He added that such an offence is punishable by up to three years in jail under the Penal Code.
"It is saddening that I can no longer avoid from saying that the prime minister lied," he said in a blog posting today.
He was referring to Najib's parliamentary reply on March 10 where he said the amount had been fully redeemed in the form of cash and is now kept at BSI Bank Limited Singapore.
However, Last Thursday, Najib, who is also Finance Minister, changed his answer on the matter, stating there is no cash in BSI Singapore, but merely "assets in US dollars".
This became even more baffling when Finance Minister II Husni Hanadzlah clarified the assets were in fact in the form of "units" but refused to explain what he meant by that.
Mahathir ( photo ) described this as a "cover up" of government matters and said it was an offence under Section 218 of the Penal Code.
Section 218 says it is an offence for any public servant responsible for the preparation of any records, to frame it in an incorrect manner, with the intent to cause loss or injury to the public or with the intent to save any person from legal punishment.
Such an offence will result in a jail term of up to three years, a fine, or both.
Aside from Najib, Mahathir also singled out government officers, Bank Negara and 1MDB which he claimed to have breached Section 218 of the Penal Code.
"Something serious is happening. Money owed by a government-owned company, of which RM7 billion is guaranteed by the government, can no longer to traced and attempts are made to lie to Parliament and the country," he said in a blog posting titled "Najib and lies".
"There are criminal elements in this case that requires police investigation and if the money still cannot be traced, then the legal process must be initiated against all the quarters involved," he added.
Mahathir also casted doubt on Najib's amended answer, citing reports that BSI bank had already stated that documents claiming 1MDB's subsidiary Brazen Sky had made a deposit with the bank were false.
Mahathir added that BSI bank has reported this matter to the Monetary Authority of Singapore and it is the norm that Bank Negara would also be informed of this.