In response to a remark I had made during a press conference yesterday where I said I was 80% satisfied with the Public Accounts Committee report, just as I had previously said I was reasonably happy with the Auditor-General’s Report, 1MDB retorted that I can’t be 80% pregnant.
I had to laugh out loud out of sheer incredulity at 1MDB’s preposterous response. It appears that the tabling of the PAC Report has touched a raw nerve, not only causing the entire Board of Directors to offer their resignation, but for 1MDB to lose 80% of its marbles as well.
I can see no problems with being 80% satisfied with the PAC Report which has been tabled. It merely means that it is not a bad report, with sufficient damning details of 1MDB. However, the Report could have been even better if 1MDB had cooperated by providing all the necessary documents the Auditor-General and PAC had asked for.
More importantly for Malaysians however, isn’t whether I can be 80% satisfied or pregnant. It is whether 1MDB, after lying to Malaysians over the past 2 years, is continuing to do so with deceitful insinuations against its critics.
Let me refer to the key assertion 1MDB made in their press statement yesterday –“1MDB has provided to the National Audit Department (JAN) all documents in its possession. It has also explained to JAN why other documents could not be procured. YB Tony knows this yet persists with his recycled rantings.”
Because of the tabling of the PAC Report and the accompanying transcripts, Malaysians can judge for yourselves if 1MDB and its President, Arul Kanda have been telling the truth.
I have attached are 3 pages of transcripts of Arul Kanda’s testimony with the PAC on 1st December 2015.
I had asked JAN during the meeting if they have received all the required bank statements from 1MDB. “Adakah pihak audit telah menerima semua penyata kewangan atau bank statements of 1MDB?”
Puan Farizah Harman confirmed that they have only received the local bank statements and not the foreign bank account statements of 1MDB and its subsidiaries. “Tidak terima... local bank sahaja kita terima.”
Arul Kanda has earlier in public and in the PAC given the excuse that they couldn’t provide the crucial outstanding documents to the PAC because they have been confiscated by the authorities including the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
However, I asked “Bank statements, usually if it is taken by the police... you can get copies from the bank, right?”
However, Arul Kanda kept his straight face to respond that “Jadi Yang Berhormat, di mana kita dapat, where we have been able to, we have are(sic) source and we have pass over to JAN”.
The following was the short exchange when Arul Kanda tried to pretend he doesn’t understand what “bank statements” were:
Tony Pua: Bank statements?
Arul Kanda: I am speaking in general terms Yang Berhormat because...
Tony Pua: Bank statements surely it can be... they [JAN] have been asking for it since May.
Arul Kanda: As I said earlier...
Tony Pua: Cannot be taking six months to get from the bank, right?
Arul Kanda: Again, Yang Berhormat, I am not sure which statement or which document in particular.
Tony Pua: Every month. I think they have asked for every month’s [statements], right?
Arul Kanda: Again, Yang Berhormat, I think we have to be detailed in our questions.
At this point, the Auditor-General himself, Tan Sri Ambrin bin Buang, who rarely speaks during witness testimonies, found it necessary to defend his Office for the insinuation that they were not “detailed” in their questions.
“I think whatever kita minta ini, we put it in writing to them. So, they know exactly what we want. Cuma ada yang kita dapat separuh, kita tidak dapat separuh. So that affect our works. And then now, people (Arul Kanda) come and say it (the audit findings) is totally wrong. We want to correct it if it is totally wrong.”
When Arul Kanda then insisted that he didn’t have the “detail” wanted, Tan Sri Ambrin responded that their office have provided several deadlines, the last being 31 October 2015 for 1MDB to submit their documents.
“Tuan Pengerusi, I must put on record. Kita sudah beberapa kali beri deadline. We have to finish our report to the PAC. We put the date even 31st October. We are now in December. We are still waiting.”
As the new Member of the PAC, Dato’ Takiyuddin Hassan rightly pointed out then, “Tuan Pengerusi, saya nampak macam ada element of suppression of evidence di sini. You are trying to hide something. We can assume that.”
When I repeated my question, “What is the difficulty of getting bank statements to the Auditor-General?”
Arul Kanda’s response summed up his debating credentials, “So again, Yang Berhormat, saya rasa soalan tersebut terlalu broad. Kita perlu... lebih jelas apa yang diperlukan...”
In fact, right up to the very last minute in March, there were still repeated requests to the Ministry of Finance and 1MDB to make available all the missing documents, including all the foreign bank statements, payments transaction confirmations, as well as certain key missing agreements. However, these requests fell on deaf ears.
So now, Malaysians can judge for themselves, whether Arul Kanda, the top banker touted to be a debt restructuring expert, but couldn’t understand what “bank statements” were, was “cooperating” with the PAC and AG as he claims, or he was in reality obstructing investigations against 1MDB. They can also decide, who are the real liars, 1MDB or me.
Hence let me reassert my statement yesterday that while the findings of the PAC and the Auditor-General are sufficiently damning for 1MDB, its Board of Directors and top management, the PAC failed to “clear” the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak of alleged wrongdoings because the crucial evidence of banking information overseas were not handed over to the AG or the PAC.