PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has released nine audio recordings of conversations involving former prime minister Najib Razak and others, which the graft buster said was evidence of “abuse of power and fabrication of false evidence”.
In a press conference on Wednesday (Jan 8), the agency played clips of conversations believed to be between Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed Zayed Al-Nahyan, former MACC chief Dzulkifli Ahmad, and several other individuals.
The conversations were believed to have taken place between Jan 5 and July 29, 2016.
The clips are also believed to be linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
MACC chief Latheefa Koya said the audio clips were handed to the agency anonymously early this month and their authenticity has been established.
“There are various serious issues that have arisen including abuse of power, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice, compromising national security, fabrication of false evidence through foreign assistance, and connivance,” she said.
One of the clips contained a heated conversation between a man and a woman, believed to be Najib and Rosmah. She could be heard offering him “advice” on how to manage the 1MDB scandal.
“Can I advise you something?” she raised her voice.
“I don't like this. Darling, you are the prime minister, you should take charge and not anybody else okay? You got goons around you to advise you,” she said.
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In another recording, Najib allegedly asked the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to help fabricate a loan agreement to show that Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, had received financing from Emirati state fund International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and not from money siphoned from 1MDB.
“The premise is relatively small, if there can be an agreement with Sheikh Mansour to have a loan agreement signed … that will show that it is a legitimate financing package, it’s not money laundering,” Najib allegedly said on the audio clip, referring to United Arab Emirates deputy prime minister Sheikh Mansour Zayed Al-Nahyan, who was then chairman of IPIC.
Meanwhile, an audio clip featuring a conversation believed to be between Najib and Mr Dzulkifli, then a deputy public prosecutor in the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), revolved around an investigation paper.
“There was an obvious leak of information from the AGC to the person we believe was a subject of investigation,” Ms Latheefa said in the Wednesday press conference.
“The contents are shocking; it's a cover-up and subversion of justice … In the public interest, we're making public the contents,” she added.
Najib faces 42 criminal charges in five separate trials related to the alleged theft of billions of dollars from 1MDB, the subject of investigations in at least six countries including the United States, Singapore, and Switzerland. He has pleaded not guilty.
Malaysian and American authorities say about US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, co-founded by Najib in 2009.
“I AM SHOCKED WITH THIS REVELATION”: NAJIB
Responding to the audio recordings at the High Court after his SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial, Najib said he was shocked with the revelation.
“This has never been done in our country’s history and the timing is so close to the Kimanis by-election,” he was quoted as saying by the Malay Mail.
Campaigning for the parliamentary by-election in Sabah is now underway, after the Election Court nullified the victory of incumbent Anifah Aman in the 14th general election. Polling is set on Jan 18.
Najib, when pressed on the authenticity of the recorded conversations, said he needed time to study the recordings.