1MDB task force probed over 'leaks'
ALL members of the special task force investigating the debt-ridden state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) for alleged financial irregularities will themselves be probed for possible leaks of information, said the Malaysian police.
Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar warned in a statement yesterday that those found guilty of leaking or doctoring investigation-linked information would face the full extent of the law, reported news website Malaysian Insider.
This came after the United States-based Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on July 3 that about US$700 million (S$950 million) had been funnelled into two of Prime Minister Najib Razak's accounts.
The daily said it had got the documents about the money trail from a government investigation, but did not name the source.
It is widely believed the source is involved in the probe on 1MDB.
Mr Khalid said that the decision on the probe-upon-probe was made on instructions from the attorney-general.
"This will include investigating all members of the special task force, which includes Bank Negara personnel, to uphold the integrity of the inquiry and trust in Malaysia's financial system," the police chief said.
He added that the investigation was also to check whether the documents leaked were genuine or had been doctored.
The police have not eliminated the possibility that a conspiracy was afoot to topple the prime minister, said Mr Khalid.
The police decision elicited sceptical reactions from some opposition politicians, who called the new probe a distraction from the important task of determining the veracity of the WSJ report, said news website Malaysiakini.
Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said that it seemed to be a case of the government trying to "shoot the messenger".
Democratic Action Party adviser Lim Kit Siang also questioned why it was so difficult for Mr Najib to deny the allegations outright, saying that the task force on 1MDB should come under new leadership.
Meanwhile, Mr Najib's lawyer, Mohd Hafarizam Harun, said the WSJ article was not clear on whether it was accusing Mr Najib of taking funds from 1MDB.
"Why we sent a letter of clarification is because we want the WSJ to tell us what their position is," The Star newspaper quoted the lawyer as saying.
"Yes, my law firm can say whether the article is defamatory or not - but if I wrongly give advice, then I am also subject to professional negligence," he added.
Mr Najib has called the articles "political sabotage", while 1MDB insisted that no funds had been transferred to his accounts.