Former Bank Negara governor Zeti Akthar Aziz has dismissed the allegation that she was aware of the RM2.6 billion in former premier Najib Abdul Razak's personal bank accounts in Ambank Islamic prior to the 2013 general election.
“I wish to categorically state that this claim is false. I had no knowledge of this RM2.6 billion remitted into his account,” she said in a statement issued to Malaysiakini hours after Najib's arrest.
Zeti also alleged that on July 3, 2015, she was called to the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya when the scandal erupted.
“He made a request for me to issue a statement that he had done nothing wrong in his account.
“I informed him that I cannot issue such a statement because I did not have knowledge of transactions that had occurred in his account,” she said.
According to Zeti, a cabinet minister, whom she did not name, made a similar request and she had told him the same.
The former central bank governor was responding to Najib's claims in an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini last week, where the latter said Zeti was aware of the transaction but did not question him on the matter.
“If Bank Negara is in the know of these funds and they had an inkling or some knowledge that there could be some doubts about the source of the funds, I expected them to tell me.
“But nothing of that sort happened. So I assumed all along that it was fine,” he said.
Quizzed again if Zeti did not raise any red flags, Najib replied: “No there was no comeback from Bank Negara. I assumed everything was fine.”
Meanwhile, the former Bank Negara governor said on the matter relating to transactions by account holders in the banking system, the central bank relied on information provided by the reporting financial institutions.
Earlier today, Zeti, who is now a member of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP), declined to comment on the allegation because the matter was being investigated.
Below is her press statement in full:
I refer to the former prime minister's recent interview with Malaysiakini (dated July 2, 2018) when reference was made on the claim that I had knowledge of the inflow of RM2.6 billion into the personal bank account of the former prime minister in 2013. I wish to categorically state that this claim is false. I had no knowledge of this RM2.6 billion remitted into his account.
In fact, on July 3, 2015, I was called to the Prime Minister's Office. He made a request for me to issue a statement that he had done nothing wrong in his account.
I informed him that I cannot issue such a statement because I did not have knowledge of transactions that had occurred in his account.
I later received a call from another cabinet minister who made the same request for me to issue such a statement. I gave him the same answer that I cannot issue any such statement because I did not have knowledge of what had transpired in his account.
On the matter relating to transactions by account holders in the banking system, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) relies on information provided by the reporting financial institutions.
The banking community is fully aware of the regulations and guidelines governing the reporting of any suspicious transactions and for the necessary due diligence on the operations of any such accounts.
Unless the relevant banking institution reports to BNM of irregularities in an account or if BNM received a tip-off that gives a reason to believe that an offence has occurred, the central bank is not able to initiate an investigation into the account.