Last week, the Second Finance Minister Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani told an audience of the investment community at a luncheon organised by the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) that the Government “can’t press charges on 1MDB without a full picture”.
He argued that "even the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) and AG (Auditor-General) were unable to specifically tell what went wrong”.
Dato’ Seri Johari must prove to Malaysians that he has not become a big liar defending a kleptocratic administration by demanding that the Cabinet declassify the Auditor-General’s Report immediately.
How can the Second Finance Minister expect Malaysians to believe him that the AG could not anything specifically wrong with 1MDB when the Najib administration has classified the AG’s Report under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) since its publication in February 2016?
Even the then Auditor-General, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang has emphasised that the intent of the OSA classification was only for the purpose of the PAC to complete its own report without unnecessary leaks. He has stated clearly that there was no need for the AG’s Report to be classified after the PAC Report has been completed and left it to the discretion of the Government to declassify the document.
Can Dato’ Seri Johari tell us why the the AG’s Report remains classified?
Is it because even the ‘sanitised’ PAC Report itself has hinted at a whole lot of shenanigans discovered by the AG, if further exposed, would make life difficult for the Barisan Nasional Government?
For example, the PAC found that the 1MDB’s multi-billion dollar investments in Petrosaudi and other funds were carried out without any proper study or due diligence. For that matter, the PAC and the AG found that 1MDB decided to invest a total of US$1 billion in a joint venture with Petrosaudi International Limited within just 8 days.
We have also since discovered with corroborating evidence from Bank Negara as well as court cases in the United States and Singapore, that US$700 million of that sum was siphoned to Good Star Limited, a company owned by the flamboyant Jho Low.
The PAC and the AG also found that 1MDB’s management executed multiple multi-billion dollar transactions without the approval of the 1MDB Board of Directors. The PAC and AG also concluded that the top management had provided false information to the Board of Directors on multiple occassions. Worse, the top management was found to have acted in defiance of decisions made by the Board of Directors.
The PAC and AG’s Reports were very specific in these allegations.
It true that the PAC and AG’s report were not sufficiently comprehensive. The PAC and AG could not investigate the US$731 million of funds originating from 1MDB which were deposited into the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank account because 1MDB refused to supply its overseas banking documents.
However, there are already sufficient instances of criminal wrong-doings and negligence by the top management highlighted by both the AG and the PAC in their reports. This was also the reason why the PAC had recommended that the authorities carry out investigations against Datuk Shahrol Halmi and other management officers who were involved.
Hence the question that the Second Finance Minister must answer is – why haven’t investigations into the shenanigans in 1MDB, especially by Datuk Shahrol Halmi been completed after more than a year? Why is Datuk Shahrol still a Director at the PEMANDU agency in the Prime Minister’s Department?
Is it because he is ‘untouchable’ and protected by the Prime Minister himself, so as to avoid even more damning truths surfacing on how tens of billions of ringgit were misappropriated by 1MDB, of which a substantial portion of it was channelled to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak?