Ambank unaffected by Najib trial, non compliance fines

Ambank unaffected by Najib trial, non compliance fines

KUALA LUMPUR: The ongoing trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the biggest fine imposed on Ambank has not impacted Ambank, said its chief executive officer, Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir.

“It has not impacted our business. As everyone knows, we were the only financial institution (FI) fined for breach of regulations in terms of non-compliance.

“RM53.7 million was the largest fine ever imposed on any FI in Malaysia,” he said, in response to questions on whether the trial was bringing bad business, to local financial weekly The Edge.

Najib’s accounts that have been put under the spotlight are all in Ambank.

Regulation breach measures too have been put in place to avoid recurrence in Ambank, Sulaiman said.

“Much has been done to improve and enhance our processes and internal systems to ensure that we will not have a repeat of non-compliance.

“In addition, AmBank agreed with Bank Negara to commence a four-year programme during which we have set aside RM25 million per annum for investment in systems, infrastructure and training.

“This series of measures will enhance the robustness of our processes and is intended to ensure that such circumstances will not happen again in the future,” he said, quoted The Edge.

He added that the improvisation efforts had resulted in reduced fee payment to Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Bhd which also reflected improved risk.

Bank Negara Malaysia imposed the RM53.7 million fine on November 23, 2015 ― the first day of Sulaiman’s role as AmBank Group CEO due to AmBank (M) Berhad and AmBank Islamic Berhad’s non-compliance of regulations.

The huge penalty was imposed in accordance with section 234 of the Financial Services Act 2013 and section 245 of the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013.

Though Ambank did not come forward to explain why it incurred heavy fines, Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin, a Bank Negara Malaysia officer testified that Ambnk was fined for its failure in reporting suspicious fund transactions in Najib’s Ambank accounts.

Millions of ringgit flowed in and out of five of Najib’s Ambank accounts which led to Najib facing seven charges involving RM42 million of SRC International.