Malaysian anti-corruption officials have questioned the country’s prime minister in an investigation into deposits of funds totalling 2.6 billion ringgit ($ 838 million) into his bank accounts that have prompted calls for his resignation.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said in a statement prime minister Najib Razak cooperated with its officers during the meeting, which lasted two-and-a-half-hours.
A corruption scandal erupted around Mr Najib in July when the Wall Street Journal reported that investigators focused on state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) had found that funds had been transferred into his bank accounts.
Critics have accused the government of dragging its feet on the investigation and have called for Mr Najib to step down due to his failure to fully explain where the money came from, why it was paid, or how it was used.
The MACC said on Thursday that it would be recording Mr Najib’s statement in connection with graft allegations at SRC International, a firm linked to 1MDB, and the funds in his account.
Mr Najib, who chairs the 1MDB advisory board, has denied wrongdoing or taking any money for personal gain.
The MACC has said earlier that the money was a political donation from an unidentified Middle Eastern benefactor.
The government has repeated that explanation in parliament, but most Malaysians, not just the prime minister’s critics, remain dissatisfied with that answer, and noted his failure to take legal action against the Wall Street Journal.
The fund is also being investigated by law enforcement agencies in Switzerland, Hong Kong and the United States, media and sources have said.
The controversy has battered Malaysian markets with the ringgit losing about a quarter of its value to become Asia’s worst-performing currency this year.
The MACC statement said it will keep the public informed of developments.
Topics: corruption, law-crime-and-justice, world-politics, foreign-affairs, malaysia