Someone in Bank Negara “obviously knows” what happened to the proceeds of the central bank’s land purchase from the Finance Ministry, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He is aware that internal investigations are being conducted by Bank Negara.
“I only know that the land was sold to Bank Negara for RM2bil. What happens after that I don’t know. Where the money goes, I don’t know.
“But obviously somebody in Bank Negara knows about it. They are investigating. That’s all,” he told a press conference here after launching Industry4WRD, the national policy on Industry 4.0.
Dr Mahathir was commenting on The Star’s report that four of the central bank’s officers had been put on leave pending an internal probe into the land deal.
Bank Negara has issued a statement saying it had commissioned a review by an independent party in relation to the land purchase.
“The review is still ongoing. To facilitate the internal review, relevant officers of Bank Negara have opted to take a leave of absence,” the statement read.
Former Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim stepped down in June following questions raised about the deal involving the 55.79 acres of land adjacent to the central bank.
The controversy over the sale of land came about because the proceeds were allegedly used to pay 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) debts. This was revealed after the Barisan Nasional government lost power.
The issues revolve around the pricing and speed with which the transaction was completed.
The RM2bil price tag is what the land would have cost if the purchase was for commercial reasons. However, in Bank Negara’s case, the purchase was not for commercial reasons, hence the contention is that the price should have been lower.
Questions were also raised as to why money was paid before the cental bank received the title of the land.