Friday, June 12, 2015

Who to Trust: The Home Minister or the IGP?

Why are there conflicting status reports on the investigation of 1Malaysia Development Bhd by the Home Minister and the Inspector-General of Police?

I had asked the Home Minister, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi for my parliamentary question on the 10 June 2015 to state

"…kedudukan siasatan pihak Polis ke atas penyelewengan dalam urusniaga 1MDB yang telah menyebabkan kerugian berbilion-bilion ringgit."

"Adakah Low Taek Jho telah disoalsiasat sebab dokumen-dokumen yang terbongkar menunjukkan bahawa wang 1MDB telah disalurkan ke dalam akaun beliau?"

The Home Minister completely avoided responding to whether Low Taek Jho has been investigated. However, he surprised everyone by claiming that the Police have completed their probe into debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and is now waiting for further instructions from Attorney-General (A-G).

In referring to a police report lodged by former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chairman Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan, Zahid said the case was classified under Section 409 of the Penal Code for criminal breach of trust by public servant or agent.

"The investigative papers have been referred to the A-G on March 9 this year for further action," he said.

Firstly, I’m disappointed that there was no reference made to the police report which I had made personally on the 4 March 2015 against the various parties relating to 1MDB, including Low Taek Jho.

However, I’m even more surprised that the investigation over 1MDB has been completed and submitted to the attorney general more than 3 months ago on 9 March.

This is because on 9 March itself, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had confirmed that police are investigating the debt-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), with a new task force formed to probe the strategic investment company. He said the task force set up several days ago by the Attorney General (A-G), which included the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the A-G Chambers and the police.

"We are part of the task force set up by the A-G. We are investigating those reports lodged," he said on that day.

Since then Bernama reported on 22 March 2015 that the IGP reiterated, “as the police have received information and reports on the case, the special squad [to investigate 1MDB] felt that we should undertake an investigation without having to wait for the report of the National Audit Department.”

Even as late as a week ago on 4 June 2015, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) was still pleading for time and patience from the Malaysian public for the investigations to be completed.

"I don't want to speak on behalf of the task force. I am not their spokesperson but I just want to confirm that the investigation is being carried out. So I don't want to give out any details of the investigation. This is because if I divulge details of the investigation, it will disrupt the task force's probe," he said

In fact, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar even alluded to the fact that none of the key protaganists like Low Taek Jho or the top management of the 1MDB scandal have been called for questioning when he asserted, “…in commercial cases such as this, we do not arrest first and then investigate. We have to investigate it first and then only make the arrest if needed”.

However, if the Home Minister is telling the truth, then we have to ask what is the A-G doing sitting on the investigation papers for the past 3 months?

The glaring question therefore is, how is it that Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi could inform the Parliament that the Police have completed their probe into 1MDB and the investigation papers have been sent to the A-G on March 9 this year when everything the IGP has publicly announced points to the complete? Or is this another example of the Home Ministry’s left hand being totally clueless about what the right hand is doing, a state of affair which is becoming the norm rather than the exception in the Najib administration?

Tony Pua

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