Saturday, April 09, 2016

1MDB must have lost 80% of its marbles after the damning PAC report was published

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.

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