Wednesday, June 17, 2015

And Here's to Another Tale of Irresponsibility...Arul Kanda Lies to Cover Up Yet Another Lie

1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) President Arul Kanda is a liar extraordinaire.

1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) yesterday issued a lengthy statement to deny many assertions made by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed against the company. I agree that strictly speaking, some of the figures which were cited in the former Prime Minister’s critiques were inaccurate. However, the gist of the arguments was definitely sound.

Arul Kanda’s many responses within the statement therefore did not address the key questions which key critics like myself have raised many times previously. However, one particular response by 1MDB proved that Arul Kanda is a liar extraordinaire.

The statement said that “despite Tun Mahathir’s vigorous claims, it is a fact that Arul Kanda never said he “saw the cash”. He is on the record as saying he had “seen the statements”, referring to the fund unit ownership and redemptions.”

This was in reference to the balance of US$1.103 billion of investments located in Cayman Islands which was redeemed in January this year and parked in BSI Bank Singapore. The controversy was whether this amount was “cash” or in “assets”.

The above however, is an outright lie to cover up another lie.

In an interview with the Singapore Business Times published on 7 February 2015, Arul Kanda clearly stated that while the funds amounting to US$1.103 billion would not be repatriated back to Malaysia, it would be kept in US dollars “as we have US$6.5 billion (RM23.06 billion) in bonds out there, in which interest payments come up to nearly US$400 million (RM1.4 billion) a year.”

The 1MDB President specifically said, “the cash is in our accounts and in US dollars. I can assure you (about that)... I have seen the statements.”

It is therefore disingenuous for 1MDB to just quote Arul Kanda having “seen the statements” without also quoting the sentence, “the cash is in our accounts and in US dollars.”

The 1MDB statement then further added,

"There was indeed a misunderstanding on information provided by 1MDB to MOF, which required the original Parliamentary answer to be subsequently amended. This is a matter of public record and has been acknowledged by 1MDB."

"As the President of the company, Arul Kanda takes full responsibility for this misunderstanding and will ensure better communication with all stakeholders."

This conceded “misunderstanding” is however, completely unbelievable. Firstly, is Arul so incompetent as make a mistake between US$1.1 billion of cash as opposed to assets or “units” of indeterminate value?

Secondly, if there was indeed “misunderstanding” in the response provided to the MoF, why did Arul not immediately correct the massive mistake on the 10 March when the “cash” answer was provided and widely published?

Instead, Arul waited until more than 2 months later on the 19 May after I had posted the question again in Parliament, before issuing the correction. If I didn’t ask the question, the truth would never have surfaced. Such a massive delay in clarifying the mistake is the height of irresponsibility by the 1MDB President.

Arul Kanda had tried to bluff gullible Malaysians that 1MDB got back all it’s money and even “made a profit of US$488 million” in the entire Petrosaudi to Caymans transactions. He even cooked up the excuse that the money needs to be kept in US dollars because it is needed to service the interest of 1MDB’s US dollar bonds. The above proved that Arul Kanda is an unscrupulous liar and a man without any honesty and integrity.

Was Arul Kanda forced to finally admit that there was no “cash” in BSI Bank was as a result of being caught with his pants down, after Singapore authorities handed evidence to Bank Negara Malaysia?

It begs the question, why is the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and the Board of Directors of 1MDB still entrusting such a person to manage and “turnaround” the country’s largest scandal in history?

Tony Pua

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