In an interview with Bloomberg, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has estimated that approximately US$3.5 billion, or RM14.2 billion, worth of funds that were siphoned from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) may be recovered.
The amount cited by Mr Lim equates to 30 percent of the total of US$12.3 billion, or RM50 billion, worth of funds that were purportedly channelled out illegally from the scandal-ridden state fund.
“We couldn’t locate, we couldn’t trace where the money went and what they purchased,” Mr Lim admitted.
“Those that we can trace […] There’s also the question of ownership, due process, as well as different national jurisdiction.”
Previously, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had targeted a recovery of $4.5 billion worth in funds.
Meanwhile, Malaysia has hired a Singapore-based law firm, Tan Rajah & Cheah, to help the country recover the lost funds.
Dr Mahathir has also mentioned that the Malaysian government will be working with Switzerland, the United States, Singapore and Luxembourg to return the funds that were siphoned from 1MDB.
A domestic probe into the fund by the 1MDB Special Task Force has led to Najib being charged with several counts of criminal breach of trust and corruption, all of which he has pleaded not guilty to.
Prior to this, Mr Lim has also made public announcements regarding official documents related to 1MDB that were labeled as “red files” and kept hidden from state auditors.
He anticipates future revelations of a similar kind regarding the misappropriation of the 1MDB funds.
“We will explain and we will review and disclose everything within 100 days, so that we can move on,” he said.
“Because we cannot be existing on one exposé after another. Scandal after scandal. No. We want to move on after that.”