PUTRAJAYA — Aug. 21, 2017: A witness today told a Royal Commission of Inquiry that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) lost RM31.516 billion in foreign exchange from 1991 to 1994.
According to the central bank’s former accounts manager Abdul Aziz Abdul Manaf , the losses was stated in the bank’s annual statement and that the amount was obtained while preparing a report as ordered by former governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz in 2007.
The losses from 1988 to 1989 totalled RM3.031 billion.
Aziz testified that he wasn’t sure if there was a written policy at BNM on foreign exchange transactions.
Former internal auditor Datuk Ahmad Hizzad Baharuddin, the second witness today, said he received an instruction in April 1993 to file a report on the cause of the losses.
The reason for the report was not to identify those responsible but to identify measures to address the problem.
He recalled a written policy at that time on foreign exchange dealings but could not remember the details.
“There existed a check and balance on foreign exchange dealings but it was not enough,” he remarked.
According to Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid, the respond from Anwar was that if the losses were to be made public, he (Anwar) would have to resign .
“Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim asked me to fly with him to Hawaii to explain the losses as instructed by then governor Tan Sri Jaffar Hussien,” he testified.
Prior to that, Murad said he informed Jaffar during a visit to the Chemical Bank in New York that the losses with that bank at that time was about RM715 million.
“The governor did not belief it and scolded me and told me to discuss the matter with Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who was then BNM advisor (1992),” he added.
He told the RCI panel that the foreign exchange transactions by the central bank then involved the US dollar, pound Sterling, Deutch mark, yen and French franc and made on the instruction of Nor Mohamed.
Murad also said there was no written manual on the check and balance system. He recalled that during an interview with the media here earlier this year, he had said BNM could not be involved in transactions that were speculative.
However,the foreign exchange dealings carried out in the 1980s and from 1990 until 1993 were speculative and not based on assets but more of gambling, he remarked.
The inquiry which is opened to the public and chaired by Tan Sri Mohd. Sidek Hassan continues on Thursday. — Bernama