shukri abdull, The man who headed the first investigation into Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal has said that he “almost died” whilst carrying out the probe, and was forced to flee the country after officers working for him were incarcerated, witnesses disappeared and he had multiple threats on his life.
Shukri Abdull, who last week was re-appointed by the newly elected prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to head up the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), recounted in an emotional press conference the personal trauma he had gone through in 2015 while first trying to uncover the truth.
“I was threatened to be fired, asked to retire early, take leave early, and pulled into the training department,” said Shukri. He said he had received threats over Whatsapp, people had threatened him at his home and he was even posted a bullet, adding: “The experience was quite frightening.”
His press conference came shortly after Najib Razak, the former prime minister who ran the country during the 1MDB scandal, entered the MACC to give a statement. Najib was asked to explain the alleged transfer of $681m from SRC International, a subsidiary of the 1MDB fund, into his personal bank account.
Shukri was the deputy chief of the MACC under Najib, and spearheaded the investigation into what happened to the billions of dollars that were embezzled out of the 1MDB government fund, which was set up and overseen by Najib in 2009.
Shukri’s testimony at the press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday morning confirmed multiple reports that efforts to find out the truth about the 1MDB scandal were scuppered by the figures in the government.
“We had our own intelligence sources, that I would be arrested and locked up, because I was accused as being part of a conspiracy to bring down the government,” said Shukri, almost breaking down into tears as he described having to flee to Washington out of a fear for his life.
“We wanted to bring back money that was stolen back to our country. Instead we were accused of bringing down the country, we were accused of being traitors.”
While Najib was called in by the MACC for questioning on Tuesday, Shukri said he was not going to be taken into custody just yet and that the investigation was still ongoing.
Najib has long claimed that the $681m what went into his bank account was a gift from a Saudi prince and not embezzled money. Shukri confirmed they had met with the Prince and he had verified the story, but he was unable to provide any supporting documentation.
The police carried out a raid last week on various properties linked to Najib, seizing 284 designer handbags and 72 bags of cash, jewellery and watches. Reports have stated that the police have still not finished counting the seized cash. Najib continued to protest his innocence over the weekend, saying he was the victim of a slander campaign and that he “ did not steal from the people.”
The re-opened 1MDB investigation, which will be spearheaded both by the MACC and a newly appointed 1MDB taskforce, will focus on bringing back the money which was spent all over the world in places such as the US, Switzerland and Singapore.